As I sat in our church's Good Friday communion service, my heart felt like lead in my chest. I was broken hearted about returning to work and leaving my precious baby girl in day care, but at that point did not have the faith to obey God's calling to stay home. I had considered extending my leave, but a trial was waiting for me, and it could not be postponed any longer. The defendant was a career criminal, a drain on society's resources, a threat to community safety, and in my opinion, worthless. He had only been out of prison a matter of days before he had been arrested on these new charges. I was sick at the thought of leaving my baby with a stranger to deal with the likes of "Joe Criminal", who would never change no matter how many times he was thrown behind bars.
At that moment, God spoke to me. Not audibly, but clearly. I cannot say that I have had many experiences where I heard God's voice. His prompting, yes, but these were clear words in my mind, and they were from Him. He asked, "Would you give up your child to save 'Joe Criminal'?" I was shocked. "No!", I thought in horror. I clutched Mackenzie to my chest, tears forming in my eyes at the thought. I could never sacrifice my innocent baby for someone like him. It was unthinkable.
Then God spoke again, and He said, "I did."
And of course, I knew God had sacrificed His innocent child for the sins of the world. But I answered in my heart, "Yes, Lord, and I am thankful for Your sacrifice. But how could I give her up? How for someone like 'Joe Criminal', who has wasted his life, who does no good for anyone? How for someone so worthless?"
And in my heart I heard His voice one last time, and He said, ever so gently, "You are as 'Joe Criminal' in my eyes. There is no difference between you two. Your righteousness is like dirty rags to Me."
I was shocked and convicted. How the truth cut my heart! For without Jesus, I am worthless. I am unworthy. I have no more hope of salvation than "Joe Criminal". What separated my eternity from his was nothing of my own merit. It was Jesus and Jesus alone. It was grace.
I gave Mackenzie to my husband beside me in the pew and approached the cross which had been placed at the altar for this service. I knelt at the foot of the cross to take communion and wept as I thanked God for redeeming me despite my unworthiness. And I thanked Him for reminding me about His grace, and how truly amazing it is.