About Jesus   Steve Sweetman

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Redemption Is Real


I picked up Phil Driscoll's, "Power Of Praise" C D from one of my C D shelves and stuck it in my C D player.  I laid Amy Grant's "Collection" C D beside the player to listen to next.  I sat down on our love seat, or should I say, "my love seat".  Sadly, nothing was ours any more.  The C D player flashed, "track 1".  


It was May, 1992.  I had recently reached an unfortunate forty years old.  Both of these C D's had been a great source of needed comfort and inspiration over the previous 12 months.  I expected the same blessing this time, and why not?  If "All Hail The Power Of Jesus Name" doesn't do something for you, then there's something wrong.  There was something definitely wrong.  It was as if someone had just plunged a butcher knife into my chest, twisted it all around, and mangled whatever heart and soul I had managed to salvage from the wreck. The depressing numbness that became routine for a number of months was back again.  The music that so often comforted me was now cursing me. 


The memories of the last year that these C D's evoked within me caused a trickle of tears to drip down my cheek.  I pleaded with Jesus.  "Please Jesus, redeem these C D's so they'll be the blessings they once were".  I am a lover of music and it seemed senseless to lose these C D's to an unwanted and unexpected horrible experience. 


As is the case when working through any difficulty, I understood that running from difficulty isn't an option.  Jesus obviously agreed.  So there I was, sitting on my love seat, and as if in His physical presence, Jesus sat down right beside me.  His presence felt extraordinarily powerful that day.  One thing was clear.  Both Jesus and I would sit through all 28 songs from these two C D's and suffer sadness of rejection together.  Rejection wasn't new to Him, but it was sure new to me.  We would relive the pain until it was all flushed from my system, and just as important, my C D's would be redeemed to their original blessings. 


I pressed the repeat button on my remote to start Driscoll's C D over.  "Track 1 flashed on the C D player - "All Hail The Power Of Jesus Name".  The song powered its way through to my stereo speakers.  Despite the theological significance of this hymn, I felt horrible.  Track 2 flashed - "He's Alive".   I knew He was alive.  He was sitting right beside me, but still, I felt worse than ever.  Track 3 - "Jesus I Love You".  Track 4 - "Worthy Is The Lamb".  As the trickle of tears turned into a torrent, and as my stomach convulsed in anguish, I relived the painful memories these songs inflicted on me. 


Phil's C D was over.  I replaced it with Amy Grant's.  I still felt miserable.  Track 1 flashed on the player, squeezing its way through the speaker wire, into the speakers, and across the room.  I listened my way through track 1, track 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and then it hit me.  Track 11 - "El Shaddai" in Hebrew; "the Almighty" in English.  Jesus had just blessed me with the redemptive resources I needed.  The pain dissipated in one single session.  Redemption was real, for me and my C D's.    


Just to be clear, I'm not super-spiritual.  Jesus doesn't tell me what shirt to wear in the morning or what to eat for breakfast.  I'm also not one who suffers with sadness or depression.  I'm emotionally and mentally stable.  However, there are those once or twice in a life time tragedies that we all have to work our way through.  I'm also not boasting that Jesus' presence is always this powerful for me.     


Redemption is an often painful, ongoing necessity, if we are to ever begin to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus. (2 Corinthians 3:18)  Redemption is the daily process by which Jesus turns our sinful humanity into something holy, which is the Biblical mandate for us.  It's not a one time event.     


The Christian life is not an adult fairytale or a spiritual fantasy world.  It's not a game of mental gymnastics where we trick our minds into believing.  It's not a blind leap of faith into the unknown.  It's not another fad, something we give a try.  It's not positive thinking.  It's also not merely giving ourselves to a Biblical belief system, as important as that is. 


The Christian life is all about living and breathing all things Jesus.  Although being divine, He is a real  person.  That's another thing I think we forget.  He's someone, who by His Spirit, can sit beside us on our love seats, or in the passenger seat in our cars, or, wherever.  He's that real.


Consider what Jesus said in John 14:25 to 21.  "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever - the Spirit of truth … you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you … you will realize that I am in the Father, and you are in me, and I am in you…"  


The other Counselor Jesus is referring to here is He Himself, albeit in Spirit form.  The Greek word translated as "Counselor" is the word "parakletos", meaning, "one who comes alongside".  Jesus says that He will "come alongside" of us, wherever and whenever, including sitting beside us on our love seats.  Beyond that, He says He will be "in us".  It's amazing to me how we can so easily neglect, ignore, and forget, that the "Almighty", in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, through His Spirit, actually lives within us.  Brothers and sisters, redemption is real because Jesus is real.      



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