by Bob Allen:
I had a moment yesterday. I was on the platform, helping to lead the worship team and suddenly, there were no words. I don’t mean that the screen went blank or that I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to be singing. No, I literally could not form a word. I was overcome by emotion. I don’t know what brought it on, but my voice cracked like a teenager, my heart leapt in my chest, the hair on my arms stood up, and I was undone in front of the entire congregation. My eyes welled with tears while I continued to strum chords, but my throat was silenced by grace. No one commented afterward. I don’t even know if anyone noticed that I had to step away from the microphone to simultaneously cower and bask in the precious and powerful truth of God’s redeeming love for me. In that moment, the lyrics were palpable; they stirred my soul with gratitude for what God has done for me. They flooded my mind with the forgiveness of my heavenly Father.
Reflecting on that moment, if I had the words, if my voice had not failed me, I could have exclaimed like the Psalmist:
Blessed be the LORD!
For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.
The LORD is the strength of his people;
he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
Be their shepherd and carry them forever. (Psa. 28:6-9)
This is my prayer. Not only for myself, but for every person who considers themself a Christian. I pray that all of God’s people would remember that he alone is the saving refuge. He alone is the good shepherd. He alone is their strength. The gospel isn’t a door to walk through to get into heaven; the gospel is the paving stone path to the porch, the front door, the doorknob, the foyer, the kitchen, the whole glorious house; the gospel is everything!
Christian, you are saved from your sins through faith in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection as the payment for your sins by which God imputes Jesus’ righteousness to you. You continue in that salvation by entrusting yourself more and more to the one who judges justly because you know that your future is secured by that very death, burial, and resurrection of your Lord Jesus Christ. God accomplishes that salvation, once and for all, the day you go to live with him forever because Jesus washed your sins away with the blood he spilled for you at Calvary.
As I think back to yesterday, I remember the passage of scripture our lead pastor covered and I’m pretty certain I can list the seven blessings of justification by faith he drew out of Romans 5:1-11, too; but what I remember most is the overwhelming sense that everyone present has access to this wonder-working God. God is not hiding. He wants you to trust him. He wants you to find redemption through the cross. He wants to swap your heart of stone with a heart of flesh. He wants to restore and reconcile your relationship with him, a father shunned. He wants to provide you with hope for an eternity spent with him, never be separated from God by any height, depth, power, or circumstance. He promises these and so much more to any and all who would accept him.
And when that hits you, maybe you can understand my silenced tongue.