There was a time in my life when I felt I just wasn’t good enough for God to use. No matter how hard I tried I just kept messing up. I had read books, done recovery, and had friends I talked to about it, but despite my best effort I continued to screw up. At one point I went to a friend from church for accountability and help in this particular area, but instead I received condemnation. I knew what I was doing was wrong, that wasn’t the issue. I wanted help to be victorious over this thing, instead I left full of guilt and shame.
Embarrassed now because that person knew my struggle, I was ashamed to speak up in class or ladies groups. Even worse was that my relationship with the LORD suffered. I was too ashamed to lift my head to Him. I just knew He was disappointed in me. I had failed Him so many times, how could He ever use me? After about 3 months of hanging my head in shame, covered in guilt, and not even wanting to pray, I had a dream. I used to say it was the best dream ever, but I’ve had a few since that time that were really wonderful too!
In my dream I could see myself lying face down covered in Jesus blood. It wasn’t like normal blood. It was so thick I could barely even see myself under it. I could also see Jesus, but He was too bright to look at. I couldn’t see the Father because He was invisible to me, but I knew He was looking at me. He showed me that this is how He sees me, covered in the blood of His Son. He doesn’t see my sin, just righteousness. I was face down not because of my shame, but because of the power of His love. There was an intense overwhelming feeling of love there, I really can’t explain it with words.
I woke up and all the shame and guilt were gone. I was thrilled! I couldn’t explain what happened to me. I felt so much better. I diligently searched the Bible for an explanation. I search many verses but could not find one to perfectly fit so I quit looking, trusting the LORD would tell me if He wanted me to know.
A year and a half later I was in a Bible study and we were learning about the Tabernacle. We were talking about the altar of atonement and the teacher had us turn to Isaiah 6. The Spirit inside me began to stir as to say “listen, this is it”. We read, “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up“ my spirit stirred even more. She continued, “and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!’ And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!’ Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.’
The hair on my arms stood up because I knew the LORD was with me and was delivering His precious message to me. He wanted me to know that He had taken my guilt away! I was thrilled that the LORD had come to me, and that He had not only taken away every last bit of sin that I had committed and would ever commit, but that He also did not want me living in guilt. He wanted me to lift my head and approach Him with confidence. Psalm 3: 3 says “But you O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” Hebrews 4: 16 tells us “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (emphasis added)
Just to hammer His point home (as He often does), the LORD had me practice a song for Sunday worship. I would listen to the song over and over again and I was struck with how appropriate the words were for what the LORD was teaching me. I sang “When Satan tempts me to despair and tells me of the guilt within, upward I look and see Him there, who made an end to all my sin. Because the sinless Savior died, my sinful soul is counted free. For God the just is satisfied to look on Him and pardon me.”
The LORD began to change my thinking. He told me I have nothing to feel shame or guilt over because I stand perfect in the Father’s eyes. Because of what Jesus has done, not because of what I have or have not done. It is a trick of the enemy to turn our focus on ourselves and our sin, leaving us condemned covered in shame and guilt. It is to the LORD’s glory to turn our focus to Him and what he has done through Jesus.
I have to say I feel very much like the woman caught in sin, yet not condemned. There is power in knowing my sins are not counted against me, that in the eyes of the LORD of all of Heaven and Earth I am forgiven and deeply loved. The woman caught in adultery was empowered through grace to “go and sin no more”. Isaiah responded to the removal of his sin by saying “Here am I, Send me.” He was empowered to take God’s message to His people even to the point of death, because he knew and had seen the great love and forgiveness given to him by the one who was sending him. And as for me, I can honestly say I rarely struggle with the sin mentioned earlier. It’s not because of my efforts, but because I turned my focus from my sin to my precious LORD and Savior. I am sent to tell everyone about His great love. May the LORD bless you and keep you; may the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; may the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
“Before the Throne of God Above” by Selah