Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Redeemed--how I love to proclaim it!

I love a good hymn! For the most part I love all of the various arrangements...the original arrangement that I grew up singing brings back memories and the newer arrangements have a way of piercing my heart. It's amazing how changing a tune can give words a whole new life!

A couple of months ago, I found myself singing an old hymn and I just couldn't get it out of my head...

Redeemed--how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy,
His child, and forever, I am.

Redeemed, redeemed,
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed, redeemed,
His child, and forever, I am.

I loved this hymn as a child because the words were easy to learn. I love the hymn today because I have finally realized what the words that I've sung for so long actually mean.

Before the song got put on repeat in my brain, I had never really thought about what I was singing. I found myself asking the question, what does it really mean to be redeemed?

For the most part, when I want to know what something means, I look it up. This time was no different. Merriam-Webster gives quite a few definitions, but my heart was both broken and filled with hope when I read the last meaning: to atone for, to offset the bad effect of; to make worthwhile.

In other words...we are all going to mess up. Sometimes we mess up REALLY big. But NONE of our mistakes are too big for God. In fact, if we will allow Him to come in and REDEEM us, He can do some really neat stuff with our mistakes. He can make them worthwhile.

Remember back in Genesis when Joseph met his brothers years after they had thrown him in the pit to die? His brothers were scared, but Joseph was not mad. He told them, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done."

Flip over to the book of Job. That man was attacked on all sides from Satan...everything was taken from him: family, animals, health...EVERYTHING. I've read about Job quite a few times, but when I read it with the idea of redemption in mind, something new popped out. Verses 8-12 of the first chapter detail the conversation between Satan and God. Pretty much, Satan said the only reason Job feared God was because he hadn't been tested. He asked God if he could test Job. You know what? God said YES. You see, God knew that what Satan meant for harm would only last a season. He could take all the bad that had been done to Job and write a way better story.

It made me think of my life. I can think of a lot of trials and issues that I have faced...still face. Sometimes I can get so down on myself. I become frustrated that I can't seem to repent and turn the other way even though I know I am not doing what God would want. That's where redemption comes in. I'm not going to lie...the redemption process can be hard, but if you ask me, it is so worth it. With redemption, I know that my struggles were not in vain. An old praise and worship song by Don Moen says it perfectly...

Lord I offer my life to you
Everything I've been through
Use it for Your glory

I choose to offer my life to God. I choose to let Him use it for His glory.

Redemption offers hope. Redemption is God's way of saying "not only do I forgive you...I am going to use that struggle, that trial, that mistake for good." It means that no matter how long you have struggled with it, God can still take it and make something good out of it...something worthwhile. Worthwhile can mean lots of different things. Worthwhile might even sound a little scary at times. It may mean opening up and sharing about an area of your life that has been redeemed in order to help others. But, I assure you...there is so much peace that comes from redemption!

As I type, I am praying for each person that reads this. I pray that you will have the strength to take your problems to the Lord so that He can redeem you. You may wonder why I'm praying for strength, but give it a day or two and I promise you won't be wondering anymore. I have seen in my own life that when you finally dig up the strength to give God the darkest areas of your life for Him to cleanse and make new, Satan gets scared...and when the enemy gets scared, he starts to attack. So, surround yourself with people that will pray for you. Trust that God is always there. Offer every area of your life to Him. Let Him use it for His glory. Bask in the hope that is given to us through redemption.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works." Titus 2:11-14


Whitney Alexander said...

Wow. What a moving entry. My husband's conversion finally broke through when he understood those verses in Genesis. It is great to see how God used it in your life. Beautiful!

Cile said...

I was reading a book the other day that was taling about redemption. Angela Thomas described it as turning in something worthless and getting back something priceless. Pretty cool; pretty God! I love you!