There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
I was sitting on my green sofa in my dimly lit living room. That’s how I spent most of my time. The doctors kept trying new chemos on me, then a bone marrow transplant, then more chemos. Then yet another transplant. Nothing was working.
Sitting there day after day, often nauseous for weeks at a time, I learned to pray as I’d never done before. “This poor man cried out to you… ” The first clause of Psalm 34:6 became real. Would the rest of it? “…and the Lord heard him and delivered him from all his fears.” Not sure what that would look like. Yes, heaven is a deliverance into the arms of God for a dearly loved kid of His. “Absent from the body… present with the Lord.”
Yet it did not seem to me to be ‘my time’ yet. There was so much restoring that I yearned for in my family and in my world.
At my church we were spending a lot of time exploring the meaning and impact of the grace of God. It’s a phrase that tumbles easily off the lips of many Christians–and yet churches are filled with roiling oceans of hurt, maladjusted, arrogant, and sometimes just plain mean people.
Before my diagnosis, I had already watched as my world crumbled. There was so much shame, and grief, and regret. Even before the doctors spent month after month scratching their heads over my case, I felt trapped and craving rescue from “this body of death”–the numb, zombie-like existence of a human smoldering wick.
One day as I sat on that green sofa with bright shafts cutting through the half-lit room from the vertical blinds, a speck of dust caught my eye. It seemed to be riding down the beam, sliding down, in slow motion. For some odd reason, I was intrigued by this little drama.
Then, as I watched, the thought came like a single drop down onto the still pool of my mind–“Not even this much shame … not even this much guilt.”
It was a splash of intense illumination into my murky world. NO condemnation. Not “only a little” condemnation or judgment. But … Zero. Shame. None, as in–none. No accusing voice that will not be satisfied and cannot be silenced.
The very last words of Jesus, moments before he died on the cross–“It is finished.” Not “almost” finished or “mostly” finished. “Finished.” All that nasty, crushing load–gone.