Hope Has Come!

When the Messiah died like a common criminal, the disciples were confused and lost but when they saw their Lord alive after three days of devastation, it changed their lives so profoundly that they too were willing to die for their faith.  When we don’t understand what’s going on in life and when trials and pain challenge our faith know that there is always a purpose.  It may not be visible at the moment but it will come clear at some point…in the same way Jesus’ death became clear to his followers after He rose.  This poem is written from the perspective of one of the disciples.
Keep the faith!

Hope Has Come!

We followed Him with all our hearts, left homes and jobs behind.
To reach the world and say to all Messiah’s come to us!
But here we are this lonely day with eyes turned up to blight
As He hangs there without a breath; Broken…crushed… He died.

I thought He was Messiah, the King of Kings and Lord
He was to set our people free, bring justice to the poor.
But here we are a pack of fools; our faith is mocked and tried
What did we miss, how can this be, why did he bleed and die?

In shame we went to hiding… huddled in our fear.
We didn’t know which way to turn or what our futures held.
But in our darkest hour, light rushed in like a wave
And praise the Lord…He rose again, the Tomb’s an empty grave!
He isn’t dead… oh no, He lives; our hearts and souls are saved!

How did we miss the meaning, of His death on that cross?
The shame and pain He suffered, He bore it for us all.
Each sin and pride-filled moment, each stubborn, willful heart
Each secret thought He brought to light; resentment, greed… He crushed.
He bore it all, that spotless Lamb for sinners … just like us.

My life is now forever changed by what I’ve seen and heard.
I know the truth; I’ve seen what’s real, all doubt is washed away.
So what will I remember when trials rule the day?
That things are seldom what they seem, a bigger plan’s at bay.
For fear and dark confusion, shall not hold me for long
For my God reigns, He’ll never change, in that hope I shall stay.

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

 

 

Unconditional Love, Warts and All!

 

Kimmie loved grandma more than anyone else in the world and was devastated that grandma had caught her lying, again.  She really didn’t mean to lie; it just seemed to slip out before she had time to think about it, and now grandma was disappointed in her.  Oh, how Kimmie hated to disappoint

Standing, shamefaced before her grandma; Kimmie hung her head low, shoulders slumped forward.  Her small pudgy hands were clasped in front of her little round belly and her toes were pointed in towards each other.   Large elephant tears slid down her cheeks mixing with the goo running from her button nose.   Slowly the back of her right hand reached up and smeared the teary-gooey mess around in an unsuccessful attempt to clean it up.  Trying again, Kimmie lifted her whole arm then buried her nose deep into the sleeve of her shirt making one long swipe from bicep to the back of her hand.  That worked.

“Kimmie, would you please look at me” grandma asked in a firm but kind voice.  Kimmie lifted her head just enough to look at grandma from under her eyebrows, her lip started to quiver.  “Kimmie, I’d like to see your whole face.”   Hesitantly, Kimmie raised her head and met grandma’s clear blue eyes with her own.  “I’m sorry I lied to you grandma, I won’t ever lie to you again for as long as I live.” The words spilled out of Kimmie’s mouth in an almost pleading tone.

Grandma thoughtfully examined Kimmie through her Coke-bottle-glasses, “Kimmie, I know you’re sorry you lied to me and that’s good, but it’s not enough.  I want you to learn that there’s always a consequence to lying, and usually it’s unpleasant.  Oh my, how the tears spilled out of Kimmie’s eyes, it hurt so bad to have grandma upset with her.   Calmly, grandma said, “you will need to call your parents to tell them what you did and no TV tonight.”

Now the tears flowed like a river down Kimmie’s six year old cheeks, how could she admit to mommy and daddy that she’d lied to grandma, again.  Grandma dialed the phone then handed it to Kimmie.  Oh, what a hard conversation it was for Kimmie, but she did it and oddly enough felt better when she hung up the phone.

After the phone call grandma sat down in her favorite chair and held out her arms in a warm invitation for Kimmie to come sit on her lap.  Kimmie walked across the room and Grandma scooped Kimmie up and wrapped her securely in her cozy grandma arms then kissed her on top of her head.  “Kimmie, I love you warts and all” grandma said in a soft whisper.  Those words were so sweet to hear, grandma still loved her even though she’d lied, even though she wasn’t perfect.  Kimmie felt happy, forgiven, and truly loved; warts and all.

There have been times in my adult life when I’ve felt like Kimmie, disappointed in my own behavior, guilty, and devastated that I let God down.  I’ve cried tears of remorse and prayed passionately for forgiveness.  I’ve accepted the impending consequences and promised myself and God that I would never make that same mistake again.  And then, much like Kimmie’s grandma, I could imagine the Lord saying to me, “I love you warts and all.”  I can hear Him saying “while you were still a sinner I willingly gave my life for you, I love you warts and all.”  At times like this God’s unconditional love is like a big safe hug that engulfs my entire body, He loves me just as I am.  It’s so wonderful to be forgiven and truly loved unconditionally.

May you know deep within your soul that you are loved by God unconditionally; Warts and All.

Romans 5:8  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Psalms 36:7   How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Debora Shelford Hobbs