I stood at the door, looking at a pile of . . . something . . . in the front yard. Was it a bag of trash that had blown up into the yard? A stuffed animal? Surely it wasn’t–
My husband walked by. “Come here,” I said. “What is that?”
He looked at it. “That,” he said, “is a dead cat.”
I’m making a new rule: no dead cats in the yard before breakfast. Thankfully, one of the perks of living next door to the church is having a dumpster out in the parking lot–a dumpster that is far, far away from your house. One of the perks of being married is having someone to do dead cat disposal. I’m thinking we should put this in the vows: in sickness, health, spiders, stuck jars, and dead cats.
Death is not pretty. We shrink from it instinctively. Death brings decay and disease. It smells. It is repulsive.
We were dead when God found us. Dead in our sins. Dead in our transgressions–our deliberate stepping outside of the will of God. We lived apart from Christ, following the ways of the world and the “ruler of the kingdom of the air.” Though we might have deceived ourselves into believing we were following our own roads, apart from Christ we were followers of Satan and pawns in his plans to bring destruction upon the world.
It’s an uncomfortable thought. But it’s true. Apart from Christ we lived with a big “I” at the center of our worlds. We lived to gratify and indulge the cravings of our flesh. We did what felt good and looked good and seemed good to us. We turned our backs on God and lived as we wanted. We deserved his judgment. We were dead men walking.
But God. They are my two favorite words in Scripture. We were dead, but God gave us life. We were sinners, but God sent his son to die for us. We deserved justice, but God gave us mercy. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5). Because he loved us, God wasn’t content to let us be. Even while we were still dead–before we even thought to look for him, before we had done anything to deserve it, God sent Jesus to die for us. He brought us from death to life. He let us share in Christ’s victory over the grave. He uses us to display his glory. He chose us to share this one important truth: our God is a God who redeems.
I don’t know where you’re sitting as you read this today. I don’t know where you’ve been or what you’ve seen. Know this: no matter how far you’ve gone, no matter the guilt that weighs you down or the secret sins you’ve kept hidden, nothing can erase the love God has for you. The blood of Christ has written a huge BUT GOD over your life. You were guilty, but God forgave you. You were dead, but God gave you new life. You were lost, but God found you. You were a slave to sin, but God bought you back. Don’t hide your face any longer. Stand tall. You are the daughter of the king. He has restored you. He has given you a new name: His. And he has given you a purpose. Live loudly and let the world see what it looks like when God redeems.
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