It’s not hard to remember the sinking feeling that came with getting an assignment back from a teacher and finding it all marked up with red ink. It’s not a very long journey from, “I got a failing grade” to “I am a failure.”
I wonder if in our “journey with Jesus” we are too quick to grab the pen with red ink. Do we, in our essential task of defending the absolute truth of the gospel, extend this “stand” to that which may be better left to the illumination of process?
Here is the story that is prompting this question for me:
A lady of retirement age, whom I did not know, came to our home to assist me with a project. As we talked, she revealed to me that she had several precarious health conditions. As I listened, I felt led to ask, “Do you know Jesus?”
“Oh, yes,” she replied with evidence of warmth and familiarity.
She then went on to tell about her mother’s deathbed experience. It had been a protracted “dying” and the family had spent a week at this mother’s bedside.
After several assurances from the family that permission was given to die, this mother drew her final breath. As she did, she raised her arms toward heaven, broke into a big smile and said, “Harold.”
The lady telling this story choked up and said that Harold was her father’s name. She then spoke to me in an emotional whisper, “I think Harold was the angel God sent to take my mother home to heaven.”
I listened and stayed quiet.
I was aware that there would have been a time in my own journey where I would have needed to explain that we don’t become angels.
Somehow, in this story, the blood of Jesus is all the red ink I needed.