By Jane Highley
I used to think that, as the daughter of a Presbyterian pastor, my sins could never really be shared or confessed because of how they would somehow taint my father’s reputation. But now I know that my identity as a daughter of the King is secure, and that my sins are completely forgiven because of Jesus’s all-encompassing sacrifice on the cross.
I used to think that if I didn’t read the Bible and pray every day, God would be inattentive towards me with the same number of days that I have been towards Him. But now I know that, after so many prodigal seasons, the promise in Matthew 28 is true without condition, that Jesus has and will always be with me to the very end of the age (v. 20).
I used to think that if I don’t raise my hands during worship, I’m not convinced enough of my sins and underwhelmed by the awesome character of God. But now I know that true worship of our heavenly Father is rooted in the heart, one that has been changed to see the cost of his long-suffering love for someone like me.
I used to think that if I didn’t mingle with co-workers at a happy hour or develop friendships with non-believers, I would be safe from unspeakable temptations and shielded from worldly tolerance. But now I know that, like Jesus who befriended the misfits and miscreants of society, I am sent “into the world,” as He has also been sent for our sakes (John 17:18). I am called, not just to love my neighbors, but to bear the light of the gospel wherever I am fully in the world — in my classroom, at the library, at Trader Joe’s, at the YMCA.
I used to think that if I didn’t pray for my children every night, their salvation would be in peril. But now I know that God is sovereign and paves the path for each of us to draw near to Him. My husband and I do pray regularly with and for our three kids, but “regularly” doesn’t always mean every day. But I also know that God knows we are doing the best we can, so there is tremendous comfort to be fully in His hands, to be cared for by the One who knows my days past, present, and the ones to come.
What I believe today – about faith, sin, grace, and redemption – may evolve again as I add more mileage on this journey. I am embarrassed to confess these elementary notions so openly. However, I am utterly grateful that, through the Word, through my New Life community, and through my Father’s fierce pursuit of me, I am still safely in his grip. I would not want to be anywhere else.