“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
The shiny forest green leaves of a sweet-smelling Magnolia tree shift in the weight of a summer breeze. Bare feet dodge crabgrass and ant hills, sinking into a muddy Georgia river. Toes squish into cold, wet mud. And before you know it, you’re head- first-backwards in the dirtiest, holiest water you’ve ever seen in your life.
Knowing Jesus, in the south, is like knowing the hand in front of your face or your own reflection in a mirror. Around here, we grow up in little white churches where little old ladies play the organ and miss every other note, where Amazing Grace is off key, nasally and still somehow sacred. We are raised in hard, uncomfortable wooden pews with no padding. And we are raised not to care.
I will never forget the day I was “born again”. But it wasn’t because of the way I felt. The day I came to know Jesus, like many mountain kids, I realized I already KNEW Jesus. I was raised knowing Jesus and there was never a time that He wasn’t my best friend.
And that made for a lot of confusion.
I’d heard so many adults say they weren’t sure if they were really saved. And it made me wonder too. If I hadn’t felt like floating away or shouted glory right on the spot . . . I wondered if the blood I was washed in maybe hadn’t “stuck.”
I think we can all relate. We all question our own salvation now and then. I think we all compare our experiences and our callings to that of others. We battle within ourselves to make something so complicated out of something so very beautifully simple.
I wonder what the first born must have felt like the day before the night fell on Passover. Mark your doors with the blood of lamb and you will be passed over. Leave no marking – lose a child. That must have been a really hard night to sleep. Imagine how often the children probably bid their fathers to go and check that the blood hadn’t washed away.
That’s the amazing thing about blood though. It’s not washable. Forensics prove that something, some remnant of blood will always show up somehow. Blood is not an easy thing to wash away. And that’s why no matter how many times the daddies went outside to check the doors – it was still there. The blood stuck.
We can make being born again so complicated and so scary. When Jesus makes it so joyful and so easy. All we need to do is believe. Jesus tells us that this is enough. The rest is just the stuff we pile on.
If you’ve asked Jesus into your heart – you’re born again. You’re His . . . it’s simple. Once you’re washed in the blood it’s there to stay. It’s stuck. It’s permanent.
When you are up late wondering just where you stand. When you can’t sleep and all you want to do is have your Father check the door. Turn out the light, close your eyes and snug up your blanket. He promised. And because He promised we believe.
The blood is still there, it didn’t come cheap, and you are still His.