Not 240! Please anything but page 240!
Page 240 of the Baptist Hymnal was the home to my most dreaded song. I hated that song. I hated it with a passion. Why? Because it brought conviction. It brought me face to face with Jesus and the last thing I wanted was to stand in the presence of Jesus.
How could I? I mean after all I was lost and undone. I had walked away from everything I knew to be true. The only reason I even went to church was to keep up the appearance to my parents and others that I was the girl they thought I was. But, deep down in the bottomless pit of my sinful soul, I knew the difference.
You see, I am the Prodigal in Luke 15. I knew it all. I thought I could do better. I did not need this religion. I did not need this set of rules. I was young and I had my own life to live.
So, just like the Prodigal I left “home”. I left what I had been raised to believe. I journeyed into a foreign land and I became friends of the citizens of that land. Didn’t take long for me to act like them, to look like them and to be like them.
After some time, I found myself in the “pig sty” with other Prodigals. It was there that this Prodigal too, took a long look at herself. Here I was covered in the mud of my sins. I was feeding from the slop that the devil offered me. I was tired. I was beaten. I was miserable. I was homesick.
My mind began to recall the days of my youth. It recalled the Father’s house. It brought back to me the promise of forgiveness and the promise of restoration.
It was a struggle to climb out of the “pig sty” of my sin. Finally standing to my feet with determination to return home, I noticed my appearance. I was covered in filth. Mud and stench clung to my body. I was torn and scarred. No matter how hard I tried, I could not clean myself up.
What could I do? With great shame and remorse I began slowly to walk the aisle that lead to the Father’s house of refuge. What I didn’t expect was for Him to run to me. I never thought He, the Mighty One, the Great I Am, would embrace me in all my filth. But He did and He welcomed me home.
He cleaned me up. He gave me a new robe. He put His ring on my finger and called me His. He took me, dirt and all, just as I was.
From that day forward I have come to realize with each new day, He takes me Just As I Am. He takes me with all my failures, mistakes, fears, doubts, and questions. The song which used to make me cringe has now become my life song. Today, I love it. I love it so much that I want it sung at my funeral, because that is how I will enter His presence Just As I Am~His!
No longer do I cry in conviction, but I cry tears of love. Love of the Father, which breaks down every barrier and makes me His and His alone. Just as I am, He loves me. Just as I am, I am His!
I wonder as Jesus told the parable, if He thought of me. I wonder how many others where on His mind as this story of love poured from His holy lips. How grateful I am that He included the story of the redeemed prodigal in His Word. It’s my story.
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit. ~ Psalm 32:1-2 NKJV
Father, I thank You, for taking me just as I am. I thank You that each day You take me just as I am and make me more like You. I thank You for these beautiful words that You gave to Miss Charlotte Elliott many, many years ago. Thank You for allowing me to hear it. Thank You for using it to convict my soul. Thank You for running to this prodigal. Thank You for cleaning me up and claiming me as Your own. I pray I never get over what You have done for me. I love You, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen.