Can You Believe It?
There were other pebbles in the sands of recovery as I dealt with the grief that consumed me after my brother Jim's death.
Rooting out the weeds of guilt and remorse didn't occur overnight. In my search, it's like each 'ah-ha' moment just kept pointing the way to Christ.
On one occasion, I remember visiting a friend who had been a former neighbor. Jan lived across town now and didn't attend our church, so I felt somewhat safe in opening up to her about my inner struggles with grief.
As we spoke, Jan offered words of consolation and faith, but I shrugged her comments off. I'd heard all that before; it was meaningless. She didn't know how really unworthy I was of God's love.
Finally, she stopped.
"You believe in Jesus, don't you?" she asked.
I nodded slowly and stared at her. Where was she going with this?
"You remind me of an illustration I saw during a sermon at church one day," she said. "There were two people on the altar. One was holding a bright, beautifully wrapped present, complete with a colorful bow. She was offering it to another person."
Jan paused, then looked me in the eye.
"The receiver had his arms folded and his back turned to the giver," she said. "He edged himself further away, wouldn't look at the giver, and shook his head every time the gift was offered."
Jan studied me, then spoke.
"God's gift of salvation is a free gift," she said. "You don't have to earn it. You need to accept it."