God's Amazing Grace
It was a Wednesday night and I was at a mid-week service. We were stood in a circle singing a song called Majesty. I had just sung the line ‘Majesty, Kingdom authority flow from His throne unto His own.
Suddenly and without warning I experienced being in the throne room of heaven. In that moment I became aware that up to that point I had just been enjoying a good old sing.
I had not been lost in wonder love and praise just lost in sentimentality.
In reality until that moment, I had been totally unaware of the majesty and the authority of God. Up until that moment I had known about the authority and majesty but I hadn’t experienced it. So, up to this point I hadn’t known the difference between the two.
Flash of Lightening
I had been singing along about something that I hadn’t got a clue about. What is worse, I didn’t even know that I didn’t have a clue.
If you had asked me right before this had happened I would have said that I held God in some sort of awe. Well that brief glimpse of God soon put me right on that score.
I hadn’t even got the tiniest clue of how awesome and majestic God is. In that brief moment I felt the holiness, power, authority and the majesty of God.
At the same moment I felt all that I became aware of myself in respect to God’s holiness and righteousness. It is how it is when you are out in the dark and there is a flash of lightening.
In the moment of the flash everything is crystal clear for that split second as though it was the middle of the day. Well it was like the whole of my life and all that I had ever done, in that split moment, was spread out before me.
When lightening illuminates a scene we can see everything in fine detail. So, in that moment of revelation I saw my whole life in fine detail spread out before me.
I saw Myself as I really was
The song Rock of Ages has this line in it ‘Foul, I to the fountain fly: Wash me Saviour, or I die.’
Well before this brief encounter with the living God I didn’t know that I was foul or in a foul condition. I always had thought that I was quite nice and a reasonably good person.
I left everyone still singing Majesty, because I couldn’t stay in that circle any more. I had seen God and I had also seen myself as I really was for the first time.
In that split second revelation, I had seen clearly, exactly what sort of person I really was. It had not been a pretty sight, far from it in fact.
I felt that everyone else, had been able to see me as I really was and that I was the only one who had been blind and couldn’t.
I felt like someone who had been walking around in front of everyone with the hem my dress tucked in my knickers. at the back and not known it.
I thought everyone must have been snickering and laughing at me behind my back. All this time I was going around thinking others saw me as I saw myself. What a fool I felt.
Humiliated and Ashamed.... Woe is me
I felt humiliated and ashamed; I couldn’t bear to stand in the congregation a moment longer. I left and went into the small vestry and shut the door behind me. The presence of God was so strong in that little room it was all I could do just to lie flat on my face down on the floor. I knew first hand what Isaiah had experienced and I felt like he did.
Isaiah 6:5 ¶ Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
Woe is me! Is a passionate cry of despair. Then Isaiah said ‘for I am undone,’ well I certainly was full of 'woe is me' and I felt well and truly undone. I thought that I was about to perish in the presence of such holiness and what is more that’s exactly what I was wishing would happen. As I saw my life spread out before me I saw what Isaiah saw.
Isaiah 64:6 ¶ But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;
I had seen and there was no denying that I was unclean, defiled and polluted and so was everything that I had ever touched. The thing that shook me was that I was seeing for the most part, my righteous deeds, the stuff that I was proud of, the stuff that I thought that I had got right. Yet here they were spread out before me and they were as filthy rags all polluted. The word for filthy rags that Isaiah uses here is the word used to describe menstrual rags, and you know how unclean a menstruating woman was considered in Isaiah’s day, never mind the rags she used. I guess Isaiah’s life had looked to him pretty much the same as mine did to me in the light of God’s holy presence.
It was only a revelation to me
I lay in the dark on the floor of the vestry and I just wanted the earth to open up and swallow me.
I wanted to die, I felt humiliated, foul and dirty. Yet the presence of God did not leave. I wanted to hide from God’s gaze; I wanted to cover my foulness up.
I was in a blind panic and I wanted to scuttle away to somewhere where I could not be seen.
Then Jesus spoke to me and told me that seeing myself like this was only a shock and a revelation to me. He had always seen me that way and had always loved me.
Strange as it seems in the light of this revelation, I felt no condemnation from Jesus. Instead, all I felt was love and acceptance.
This is not to say that Jesus was pleased with all the rubbish in my life or had any love for it, far from it.
Then in possibly the foulest moment of my life, Jesus told me to come to Him. He wanted with His own dear hands, to clean me up.
The thought of Jesus, in His purity and holiness, touching such uncleanness, was unbearable. I said “No Lord I am so dirty.” Then Jesus said to me with eyes that were full of love and compassion for me, “It is the only way. If you don’t allow me to make you clean you cannot be clean, there is no other way, I am the only way.”
I wept in despair at the thought of His having to touch such foulness. At the same moment I also wept for joy at the compassion and love that moved Him to want to do such a thing.
I knew so little of the depth and reality of the love and grace of God. Yet even here the enemy still was trying to steal from me.
My flesh wanted me to run from the only place where I could be made clean. My shame and guilt wanted me to run from this place of compassion and mercy.
Sin Suckers Sucking me Dry
We had a dog once that used to get what we called big cow ticks. The cow ticks would anchor themselves on the dog’s flesh and then bite the dog. Once they had pierced the skin they would slowly suck the dog’s blood until they were full.
They grew to about twice their size when they were full. God showed me that my sin was a little like those ticks. My sins had attached themselves to me and they were sucking me dry.
These sins were sucking away my joy, and they were sucking away my peace. As they were sucking away at me they were becoming heavier and heavier and I was becoming weaker and weaker.
As I looked at myself I was completely covered in these blood suckers. There was not one piece of my flesh that didn’t have these things on it.
Unlike the dog’s ticks which are only small, these things were about six inches by four inches. It was like I was wearing a suit of armour made out of these sin suckers. Yet when Jesus wanted to take them off of me I was afraid.
Ticks in the natural don’t come off easy. If you don’t get them off right they leave their hooks in you and this gets infected. So I was afraid that taking them off would hurt.
I was afraid that my flesh would be all sensitive and vulnerable when he took these off. And as daft as it sounds I had got used to having these things on and had learned how to manage with them on.
These suckers had become a barrier that stopped me from feeling things. I was afraid that I might not be able to handle feeling things.
I knew how to cope with what I had, what Jesus was offering was something completely new. I didn’t know how I would cope. Added to this I didn’t want Jesus soiling His hands by touching this filth that was on me and sucking me dry.
He Unreservedly and Unconditionally Loved me
Before this encounter I was like that leper who came to Jesus. The leper knew that Jesus could cleanse him but he didn’t know if he would in his case.
Mark 1:40-42 (KJV)40 And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 41 And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. 42 And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.
Still Jesus insisted that I let him take these things off and I let Him clean me up.
Now I was about to experience the healing cleansing touch of Jesus. Oh had I got it wrong.
I thought that my uncleanness would contaminate Him, but of course it was His touch that made me clean. Jesus had always seen me as I really was. In spite of that, He had unreservedly and unconditionally loved me.
O the amazing grace, Jesus touched me and made me whole, He touched me and I was made clean.
Have you experienced his touch your life? Have you let Him touch you? I know that this was the beginning of the transforming of my life and it is still an ongoing process.
I know that I am still a work in progress but I also know that the grace of God is more than up to the task.
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