This is a guest post from my friend… I’m very thankful for her opening up and sharing. Very inspirational.
So hello there. Recently we’ve been going to a church that has a time when people can go up to the front and do a profession of faith, which is basically the ‘repeat after me’ type of thing. The profession is part of the process of joining the church. Over the past two or so months I had felt a need to do a profession. I was baptized already, when I was about ten, but that’s not quite the same as a profession. Every Sunday, it called me. Every Sunday, I sat, (or stood) rigidly resisting. I didn’t know if it was my own feelings, or God calling me to do it. Then came a Sunday when I felt like it was my last chance. As I stood to sing, I thought, what if I did it now? Just walked up…
But I didn’t.
That night I was in one of the worst fits of despair I had ever had. (I’ve had issues with doubt and despair. Still do) Thoughts of Hell and an eternity there sprang up and taunted me.
I told God I would do a profession the next Sunday.
I told my sister about the day, and she prayed with me. That helped a lot. So along came the next Sunday, and as we went through the program, during the sermon the pastor mentioned the name of a movie that had come out recently. I knew it was chock full of undiluted heresy. He said he highly recommended the book, and told the whole church to go and see the movie. Tears sprang to my eyes and confusion overwhelmed me. What was this? Was this why, although I felt so badly I needed to do a profession, talked to my parents about it, and still didn’t do it? (My parents had said they had wanted all of us to do it in the first service, rather than second, which was the one we were going to mostly)
Is that why? All those tears, gut-wrenching terror of what would happen if I didn’t, fear of Hell, fear that I was a reprobate, fear that I wouldn’t be saved if I didn’t walk up on that stage? Maybe sitting there in direct opposition to what the pastor was saying was a sort of profession, I don’t know. But I did not go up that day.
God had held me back from committing to a church whose principle elder commended heresy. I don’t know why God did it in that way, but He drew me to Himself in a way I could never imagine. I still, in my sin, say no to things I feel God wants me to say yes to, but God is working in me, and I pray for forgiveness for those things.
Tonight, on Good Friday, we went to a different church, and they had a place where you could write a sin on a piece of red cloth and nail it to a plank. The whole room rang with the sounds of hammer hitting nails as we sang, ‘How marvelous, how wonderful is the Savior’s love for me!’ As the blood-red light flooded the room, I walked to the plank. I picked up a square of red cloth and wrote on it, then put it on the cross, placed the nail, and lifted the hammer. The nail bit into the wood. I didn’t write the word Doubt this time, but it is there. My doubt is nailed to the cross like all my sins. He took my sins upon him. And that is why we have hope. Jesus died on the cross for us. Me, you. The whole world.
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8 KJV
And that is what Easter is about.