a fantastic day to celebrate.
“ And people from as far away as Issachar, Zebulun, and Naphtali brought food on donkeys, camels, mules, and oxen. Vast supplies of flour, fig cakes, clusters of raisins, wine, olive oil, cattle, sheep, and goats were brought to the celebration. There was great joy throughout the land of Israel. ” (1 Chronicles 12:40 NLT)
On August 18, 2009 I died.
Well, I died to myself anyway.
Lying on the floor of a shower stall in a cheap motel in south Florida covered in blood from self-inflicted wounds to both sides of my neck, I spoke the four words that would bring me back from the brink of a death I was certain was the only way to rid myself – and the world – of the evil that had taken up residence inside of me.
“God, please forgive me.”
And He was right there waiting for me to ask for help, and within minutes I was discovered by individuals who should never have found me until long after I was dead.
But that’s not the story.
It’s a story, believe me. But it’s not today’s story.
Today’s story is intended to celebrate a God who is so great that He would care about someone so small and insignificant as me. Today’s story is intended to celebrate a God who is so merciful and full of grace that for my 40 years of willful disobedience and my selfish, self-indulgent, self-centered lifestyle He would give me………..forgiveness.
Just like that.
Because I asked.
Like the people of Israel who were celebrating their freedom from the suffering they had endured under Saul because of his disobedience to God, today I celebrate 10 years of life I tried to steal from myself and from those who love me.
I am grateful and I am humbled that He could care about me when I could not, and I am grateful for the new life I now live, the new heart that now beats within me and is full of the Holy Spirit, and the new eyes He gave me to help me see the pain, suffering, and hopelessness of those around me.
And I am grateful for the people he has surrounded me with who show me everyday what it means to faithfully serve our great God.
“Lord, today I celebrate 10 years of life that would never have happened were it not for the fact that You love us infinitely more than we could ever love ourselves. Today I celebrate your awesome power, which gives You the unfathomable ability to know each one of us better than we know ourselves and to care about us all individually. Today I celebrate Your constant willingness to forgive me every day, as I am still a sinner in need of your grace, mercy, and forgiveness every day. Today I celebrate the Hope that only You can provide. Today I celebrate you, almighty Father, because You are worthy of all that I can give You and so much more.
Today I celebrate the new life You gave me, and I thank you for the strength, courage, wisdom, and desire that make me want to live each new day You give me for Your glory.”
I have a lot to celebrate, and today is a fantastic day to do so.
How about you?