I love how God loves to surprise. He loves to take the simple moments, the bland moments, even the painful moments, and turn them into something beautiful and amazing.
I told Chris last night as we were going to bed that as much pain as I had been in yesterday (it had definitely gotten worse, not better), if there hadn’t been other circumstances, I wouldn’t even consider going to Church today. I would much rather just lay around the house all day and continue to let the five holes in my stomach to heal.
However, there WERE other circumstances, and I am so thankful for that. My good friend A. of 10+ years was getting baptized this morning. And, her Father was coming with her to Church to celebrate this event with her.
This was such an amazing moment – not because Baptism holds any power in and of itself – it is simply obedience to God’s command to be a witness of a changed life. A new direction.
A. has had plenty of things in her life (both in and out of her control) holding her back from being able to fully commit to a changed life, and to truly, 100% living for God. But over the past couple of years, she has been freed from so many of those, due to God’s supernatural power and grace in her life. She has been determined to make right choices and live for God no matter the cost, and a couple of weeks ago, God showed her that He wanted her to publicly profess this through baptism. I am so proud of her, and so excited to see God working in and through her!
It was a powerful morning. I think that her father got to get to know her and appreciate her all over again, and we all got to experience God in a powerful way. I believe that this morning will be a defining moment in their relationship. And for me, it was yet another confirmation of the answer to the most amazing and direct promise that God ever gave me.
The beauty in the symbolism of baptism is unparalleled – a dying to self, and being raised into a new life – a new life with Christ. Just as Christ died and was raised again so that we can have new life, when we commit our lives to Christ, we are raised in that newness of life as well.
Being that I was baptized at a young age (around 6), I don’t know that I ever fully grasped this symbolic picture until this morning. This is the first time that I have been fully aware of both sides of that life – the old life being left behind and dead, and the new life, raised with Christ, and living with Christ.
Does this mean that we are perfect after baptism (or salvation)? Certainly not! I loved how Pastor Walls put it this morning. We are to be growing. Tomorrow I should be closer to Christ than I am today, and so on. There will be ups and downs, setbacks and highs, but the beauty of the symbolism of baptism is that we are saying that it is Christ that allowed us to be raised with Him, and it is Christ that will continue changing and sanctifying us.
A father and young daughter also got baptized this morning, both very new to the faith. The look of utter joy on their faces was amazing. When the little girl went back to her seat, she hugged her Mom with tears of joy. At the end of the service, her Mom knelt at the alter to pray. The Dad AND the little girl went to be with her, embracing her and praying with her. I could barely hold back tears – it was beautiful.
I know that I cannot come close to describing the power of God’s works this morning, so this post may or may not make sense to anyone but those of us who were there, but the bottom line is that I am so thankful to God for giving me a reason to get out of bed this morning and experience Life More Abundant, rather than just life in the recovery room!