"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly."
- Romans 5:8
Just like a baby, who cannot feed himself, dress himself, or even relieve himself without help... we were - are - helpless to save ourselves from death in sin. Yet, Christ came and died for us. He "saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit...so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:5-8). What hope, what joy at the Baptism of a little child, who faces all their future with the power and life of God residing in him.
What brings me sorrow is what happens down the road. This little child grows, they learn to walk... they learn to talk... they learn all the necessities for sustaining this body. But the world doesn't stop there. The world teaches them to hate, to fear, to lust, to be greedy and selfish... It whispers "you're not good enough, unless you do...." or "no one loves you, so you better look out for number one" or "the world is out to screw you over, so you better make sure you get them first." Or maybe it just says "you can do it on your own. You're strong. You're smart. You don't need _______." In other words... the world fills this child's head with all its nonsense... and tries to drown out the voice of God whispering truth from their heart.
Working with youth... I see the impact of the world's lies on them on all the time. It breaks my heart to see how quickly Satan strikes with all the burdens of this life, trying to snuff out this glorious life that God has given them through the death of His son. It's very discouraging sometimes... What do you speak into the life of a child when they feel like they have gone through years of hell and God hasn't helped. How do you encourage them with the hope of Christ when their reality right now seems so far from Him?
It reminds me... I am not the one who can save these kids. All my fine words and training in faith education and kindness and caring will never be enough without this:
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
- Jesus (John 14:6)
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."
- Jesus (Luke 21:33)
“I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved."
- Jesus (John 10:7b-9)
Jesus is the key to all of this. He is the only one who can save. Not me. All other things will cease... all other things are powerless to bring salvation. What I cling to is this great promise, this promise I pray the broken children of this world will never cease to hear from me... this one promise without which life has no meaning:
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."