When I was a little girl I was terrified of storms.
Why? You may ask. Because in my mind storms meant Jesus was coming, and if Jesus was coming chances were He was going to leave me behind.
So whenever a storm would come I would be in my room, on my knees, confessing every sin I could possibly remember, begging for God’s forgiveness and asking Him to please not leave me behind.
No child, no matter how precocious (which I was), comes to this kind of weird, ungodly, fear of God all by themselves. I was taught this.
I was taught about the Book of Life and how my name was written in it because I’d given my life to Jesus. But I was also told about the many books in which the angels recorded every sin I ever committed.
And of course, I was also taught of Judgment Day when these mighty books would be opened and yeah, then would be the day I would find out if the good I’d done somehow, by some miracle, would outweigh the bad and I might be let into Heaven.
So ingrained was this belief, that when I became a youth leader, I taught this fire-and-brimstone-type message to the young people I served.
How dare they giggle and chat during “worship” I’d scold them. Did they have any idea what God had done for them? Dying on the cross and all! They were to take this very seriously and worship the King!
Today, years later, I still shudder to think of this horrible message I taught young people, who just like me, were in desperate need of knowing a Saviour who loved them and didn’t judge their faults.
But this was the “Gospel” I had learned and it was the only one I knew how to teach.
I gave my life to Jesus when I was seven. For decades after that I lived in perpetual fear of His punishment.
I didn’t dare admit it, even to myself then, but I secretly resented God. I also found Him confusing.
I was told He loved me but everything else I learned of Him was how He couldn’t wait to snuff me out at any misstep. We can’t truly love and have relationship with someone we dreadfully fear. It’s not possible.
A dispensable servant
So, while I may have confessed my faith in God, I didn’t really have relationship with Him. In my mind I was merely a dispensable “servant” He had no qualms about exterminating.
It was only in my thirties that I started to hear a different Gospel to the one I’d been taught. The one that told me that Jesus dying on the Cross meant I was forgiven. Forever!
I began to learn that everything I needed to do to be approved by God had been done by Jesus. All I had to do was accept and rest in what Jesus had accomplished on my behalf.
At first when I heard this message I was captivated but at the same time baffled. God wasn’t angry with me? He wasn’t sitting on the edge of His throne, a lightning bolt in hand, eagerly waiting to blitz me? Angels weren’t recording every sin I committed? Really? Whenever I sinned God saw Jesus’ blood instead of my sin? So I didn’t have to “pay” for my sin? Ever?
For over a year, about five times a week, I would listen to teaching that showed me this Jesus. The “neither do I condemn you” Jesus. And for the first time in my life I truly began to love Him.
I wasn’t afraid of Him anymore. In everything, I saw His love. In all my shortcomings I saw His grace.
The things I had battled with for years — sins I had found impossible to overcome, I began to shed effortlessly, just by listening to the God who so loved me that He gave me Jesus.
In our home Passover is a big deal for us. Because, while we’re constantly sharing with each other God’s love and eternal forgiveness, Passover gives us the opportunity to tell the story again — the story of our Passover Lamb, Jesus.
The blood of Jesus is perpetually on our lives, which means that every moment we breathe, God sees the blood and we’re guaranteed right standing with God. Always.
Storms don’t scare me anymore. I sleep right through them. Because I know that when Jesus comes He won’t leave me behind. Accepting Him as my Passover Lamb guarantees that.