moment #4: redemption

**This post is part 4 of 7 in counting down my most memorable moments of 2011 in no particular order…  Read here if you haven’t

It’s the morning of the second day of the summer retreat.  This service is arguably the most low-key service out of the retreat— with everyone still warming into retreat mode, including myself, I had saved the more “powerful” songs and the extensive time of prayer for the evening service which was to come.

Obviously God had other plans.

Nothing changed.  We didn’t do anything different.  It’s just that God spoke.  The Spirit moved.

After the message, the speaker led the students through a time of prayer as the band and I played some background music.  As he led them to an altar call I found myself turning around, turning my back towards the congregation.  I couldn’t look.  I had seen this too many times before.  I didn’t want to be disappointed.  In my unbelief, I found myself just praying as I closed my eyes.  It wasn’t soon before long that the speaker stepped off and…

This was the moment:  As I turned around I saw at least 40 hands in the air.  I was floored.  40 something students.  Lives changed.  Stories altered.  Delivered.  Redeemed.  Literally picked up out of darkness into marvelous light.

This is it.  This is why we do what we do.  This is why Jesus did what He did.  


The tears came. 

The hands didn’t come down.

In fact by the time we were crying out His praise almost the entire room was just lost in His presence, in complete awe and surrender of the one who is all about redeeming sinners.

Why this moment?

In hindsight, 2011 proved to be a year where God stubbornly used me despite my shortcomings to the glory of His grace.  In my unbelief, in my pride, in my SIN, God proved to be faithful.  TOOO faithful that it doesn’t make sense to me when I think about it.

My sin goes beyond my unbelief, the things I say and do.  The mistakes I’ve made, the “sins” I’ve committed are what just happens to be the tip of the iceberg.  My sin goes deeper than my skin and it’s just deeply ingrained in the nature of who I am.

At my very best, my words are just flawed declarations, imperfect promises that will always fall short of who God is.    But His promises stand true.  If he wants to speak to someone, He will.  If he wants to move someone, He will.  God will always have His way at the end of the day.  It just breaks me and amazes me that he chooses to use me in the worst of my times to show me the extent of His love.  It doesn’t make sense— but to the faithful Father it makes all the sense.  That’s redemption.