Hello! The rain has finally stopped and the sun is out. The kids are outside playing, Damon is doing yard work and I know what’s for dinner. I have a minute and thought I would tell you one of my favorite stories that happened awhile ago around our table. We have lots of routines in place and one is reading and praying after dinner. We read scripture and a devotion, choose a Christmas card that has been sent to us over the years and we pray for that family and most recently, have added praying for precious women in prison that send requests to a friend. It is one of the highlights of the day. On this one particular day, we began our reading and Eli was just having a hard time listening. He quickly became a huge distraction and after being warned, was asked to head on to dad’s office to await punishment. I remember that waiting feeling. Dread sets in and you just want to get it over with. Anyways, the rest of us continued on and Paxton got up and started to walk towards the office. I asked what he was doing and he said “I’ll take his place”!! What? Taking his place was probably going to mean something pretty unpleasant. He knew that, but still willingly volunteered. We let him continue walking on and the remaining kids went crazy around the table!! Comments like, “That’s just what Jesus did for us!” and “No way!” were being shouted. My eyes quickly filled with tears and knew no punishment was going to happen now. What a remarkable act of love and self sacrifice. He has done this several times since and it gets me every time.
I don’t remember a time that I ever took someones punishment. Growing up, I was way more concerned about myself and would have never wanted additional consequences, especially if I didn’t deserve them. He was just 7 years old at the time, but already had such a grasp on the gospel. His simple, childlike faith is such an example to our family. The gospel he understands and believes wholeheartedly really isn’t complicated. We were created by God and made for a relationship with Him. Sin entered the world with Adam and Eve and separated us from God. In order for our relationship to be restored, a sacrifice had to be made. That sacrifice was God’s own son, Jesus. He willingly and in total obedience, died on a cross to pay for our sin. He took our place. This was the only way. However, the best news is Jesus didn’t stay dead. Oh no, our powerful and loving God, put life back into His Son and he came out of that grave. This doesn’t sound believable does it? However, doesn’t something in your heart want it to be true? Can you imagine feeling free and clean? No more striving, trying to be good enough. All our efforts just fall short and you end up feeling lost. Only accepting this gift for our willful sin and believing Jesus is the Son of God who is alive and well, covers what we can not. Believing and accepting this changes your eternity, but it also changes the now. When you really let the truth of how much God first loved you and continues to do so, it changes everything. Trust me!