“If redemption could be reversed, it wouldn’t be redemption.”
Clip a coupon. Go to the store. Redeem the coupon. Buy something. Take it home. Go back to the store. Return the item and try to get the coupon back.
Can you return the item? Yes. Usually.
Can you get your money back? Sometimes.
Can you get your coupon back? No. It’s been redeemed. It’s finished.
When Christ died he declared, “It is finished.” When we accept His sacrifice on our behalf, we allow him to redeem us. “It is finished.” (John 19:30)
The same is true for us. If we could be plucked from His hand, then being in His hand wouldn’t be a source of hope, love, grace or life. It would merely be a temporary relief filled with anxiety and fear of the inevitably impending end of such relief and the return of the pain, uncertainty and Hell that exists everywhere outside of God’s hand. (John 10:28-30)
And so redemption cannot be lost. There are many things that can be lost. We may lose keys, wallets, loved ones, talents, youth, health and even life itself. But alas redemption cannot be lost. It cannot be reversed, it cannot be shaken, it cannot be shirked. Lest it not be redemption.
Redemption. Forgiveness. Forever. Thank God.
I wrote this prayer last year. I was struggling with things then. I think this year I’m struggling even more… not because I’m failing, but because I’m better grasping how far I’ve got to go before I really forgive and really let go of the anger and the hurt. At church today we talked about how we need to respect our dad’s not just when we feel like they’ve earned it, but unconditionally. We talked about how when we respect them no matter what, that builds them up and encourages them. It helps them become the man God has called them to be.
Unconditional respect. Has anyone really experienced that before? It’s kind of hard to imagine, but I think it’s needed. Maybe if I give my dad the respect he hasn’t earned he will become more like the man God desires him to be. Maybe it’s only in giving him credit for more than he is right now or has been in the past that he’ll become what he’s called to be. I am, after all, my father’s son.
I found myself praying this today at church in my head so I just thought I’d share…
Give me strength and courage, wisdom and guidance. Help me to show him grace; the kind of grace that you’ve shown to me. Help me to see him as just a person who is broken and hurting, the same as I am. Help me to look to you and you alone for my strength and approval. Help me to see you as not just my heavenly father, but my dad. You are “Abba, Father”, my intimate and loving daddy.
Help me not to hold against him all the times he has hurt me or continues to hurt me. Help me to forgive him as you forgive me… since I am a child of yours, you forgive me not just when I ask for it, but when I need it, whenever I let you down, even before I ask for it. Help me to show him the respect and love not that he deserves, but that you show us in your grace. Help me to honor him as my father simply because he is my father and because you tell me to. The day is called “Father’s Day” after all, not “Good Father’s Day”. The only “Good” holiday I know of happens on a Friday. And I don’t seem to remember anyone getting what they deserve on that day.
Fill me with strength to be the spiritual leader in our relationship since he is not. Replace my anger and bitterness with compassion and empathy. Replace my desire for vengeance with a desire for grace and a desire to honor you. Help me cling to you as my dad. Because you are the one who won’t let me down. You are the true dad that I desire to model for my kids. You are the one who is good. I love you. Thank you for adopting me as your son, as a part of your family, as your little child. I hope I can honor you today… on Father’s Day.
Your troublesome little kid,