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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hopelessly Longing For Grace

By Cheryle M. Touchton
The Pocket Full of Quarters Lady

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17

I have trouble machines. It doesn’t much matter what the machine is. I seem to start with the opposite of what needs to happen. So, it didn’t surprise me that I was having trouble getting diet coke from the McDonalds beverage dispenser. I was wishing we could return to the days of restaurants making drinks for you when I noticed a woman watching and grinning at me.

“I have trouble with machines,” I confessed.

“It’s not you,” she said, she said encouragingly. “Ours works much better. I always have trouble here.”

“So you work at another McDonalds?” I asked. It was the opening line for me to find out that while she lived in Tennessee, she was from “all over.” I noticed her taunt skin and the telling signs of crystal meth damage to her teeth. Her eyes were clear and she was speaking intelligently and clearly so I guessed she was currently, drug free. I knew there was a story and wanted to hear it.

“Do you go to church where you live?” I asked.

“No!” she said. “Churches won’t have me. I’m not like them.”

“I’m not sure there is a type for God,” I teased. “He traveled with reformed prostitutes and thieves. Forgiven murderers were the heroes in several books in the Bible. What about God?” I asked. “Do you know where you are going in the next life?”

“I’m basically an atheist,” she answered. “I don’t know what to believe in. I know I’m going to hell though. I’ve made too many mistakes to go anywhere else.”

Before you say it, I too was tempted to point out the incongruity of saying she didn’t believe in God while stating she was going to hell. Debate has never worked for me and people running from God are often illogical. Yes, her words proved that deep down, she believed in a god. She just didn’t believe in the God I’m in love with. My God stands ready to forgive anyone who repents. There is no sin too big for my God to forgive. My God stands ready with open arms for sinners and the broken hearted to run into them.

“Everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” I said.

“I sure have done that,” she agreed. “I know all about sin.”

“We all do,” I said. “The wages of sin is death, which is probably why you say you are going to hell. We deserve punishment for our mistakes. But the Bible also says that the gift of God is eternal life. God loved us so much that He sent His son Jesus to earth so that whoever believes in him will be saved. Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn you. He came so that through Him, you can be saved. My favorite line in the entire Bible is all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved. I want to help you do that right now.”

She backed away without without getting her drink. “No!” she said, putting her hands in front of her face. “I can’t. There is no hope for me. None! No hope at all.”

“Yes, there is. Jesus loves you,” I said as she ran away.

Who told her there was no hope? How did she get such a warped picture of God? What had she done that she thought was too horrible to be forgiven? No wonder she was trying to convince herself there was no God. Who wouldn't want to deny belief in a god that they thought had completely given up on them? Pray for her.

Are you wondering if your sin is too great to get into heaven? Are you afraid you’ve committed an unpardonable sin? Let’s talk. Email Cheryle

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