August 2 is always a day of reflection for me for it is the anniversary
of the day God redeemed me from death through the finished work of Jesus
Christ. Today is my 41st birthday in the Lord. It is a day of
rejoicing – in fact, I think this year I will get out the little dancing
birthday girl and celebrate!
it is interesting, looking back to that day in 1971, when at the age of 15 I was born again to a living hope. Throughout the winter prior, I was being challenged by the preaching of my Methodist pastor to search the scriptures for an answer to the emptiness within me. During that time, God pricked my heart – both in church and at home on my bed. I read and struggled and questioned and resisted. I spoke with my pastor. I made bumbling attempts at coming to know Christ even as I negotiated with Him the terms of our relationship. It was both a miserable and a wonderful time - as near to my recollections of laboring to give birth as I can recall.
So, fast forward to August 2, where at a youth camp on the grounds of Lakeside, "The Chautauqua on the Lake", I came to a full (at least as full as it could be at the time) understanding of sin (mine) and grace (God’s). It was then that I was made alive in Christ! For the next three years, I immersed myself in studying the Bible and getting to as many faith related activities as I possibly could – churches, youth groups, Bible studies, Christian coffee houses (the Jesus People/Jesus Freak movement was big at the time), street witnessing, baptisms…. I even sang a Christianized version of James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend” on the stage of Hoover Auditorium at Lakeside in a dress that, due to my ignorance and the style of the day, was assuredly much too short to be wearing on an elevated platform.
Sadly, however, at age 18 I walked away from the Lord (complicated to be sure - but certainly a result of my own sinful heart rather than the failings of those I tried to blame). My wanderings and waverings over the years have been many and protracted and of unhappy consequence. I wish it were not so. Yet, what I can say is this - God is faithful when I am faithless. He, in His mercy, preserves me and keeps me then and now. What I thought, in 1971, was "my decision" has proven to be God's work, and without it I would most certainly be lost. For these, His tender mercies, I am eternally grateful!
So, today I think I will sing a little “Happy Birthday” song - not in honor of myself, but in celebration of the One who died that I might live. God keeps His promises, and all His promises are fulfilled in Christ. His love never ends.