I thought about this a long time. There are so many things I could choose: a hand-carved wooden plate from Germany, my mother’s platter with the rose in the middle, my Little Golden Book printed in 1952 called “Prayers For Children,” photos of long-deceased relatives that were dear to me and my family, paintings done by my deceased father-in-law. So many things to choose from.
But what is most precious to me, what I value more than any thing is something that can never be lost, stolen, or re-possessed. My most prize possession can’t be held, smelled, touched or tasted. It is my relationship with my heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Here is a little of why this is my most prized possession. I know there are critics who think God is just a fantasy for foolish people who are unenlightened, or people who think people like me have been brainwashed or deluded. But that person doesn’t understand how important this relationship is.
Until I was around twenty-three years old I was 100% convinced that I was the ugliest, dumbest thing on the planet. I had no purpose and no right to be alive. I was taking up someone elses’ air space. My sole purpose was to be the entertainment for cruel kids and sharp-tongued parents. It seemed my peers agreed with me. No one ever thought I could be good at anything. No one believed anyone would ever want to marry me. Why should they? I was awkward, uncoordinated, and not good at one single sport. I couldn’t even dribble a basketball. I had really bad allergies and was always blowing my nose or sneezing. My desk at school was always piled high with tissues.
I’m thankful to say that all of my detractors were wrong. And hindsight being what it is, I realize that not EVERYONE felt that way about me, only a few, but that was enough to color my attitude and I lost some of my friends because I didn’t know how to be one. I only knew how to soak up whatever was given to me. In other words, it made me self-centered and negative.
I did get married and had two children, but I really didn’t know how to be a good mom or wife either–until. . .
My sister-in-law is a Christian; she was when I met her. While my husband was waiting to be able to out-process from the U.S. Coast Guard, his sister took me to a Billy Graham movie: Time To Run. I saw myself in that movie and it made me want to change. It was like looking in a mirror and seeing the kind of person I was. I was seeing myself through God’s eyes. He loved me. He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die on a cruel cross, after being tormented, not for anything He had done, but for my sins. He took my place. I should have been crucified. I deserve to go to hell. But He loved me so much that He took my punishment and offered me a new life. He showed me how to be the kind of person that can love and have compassion on others. Through His word, the Bible (KJV) He taught me how to be a good wife and mother. I haven’t been perfect, and I won’t be in this life; but He has given me a joy, peace, and contentment beyond anything I ever could have imagined. I let Him down on a daily basis, but He still loves me, forgives me, and encourages me to keep trying. He’s my heavenly Father, my Savior and my best friend. I have a home waiting for me in heaven because I accepted His free gift of salvation.
This gift is free, and offered to every person on the planet. Anyone who ends up in hell goes of their own volition because they reject the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ. People want there to be many ways to get to heaven. But if Someone sacrificed His life to be the ticket, the door to go through, doesn’t He have the right to decide that He’s the only way? If there could be another way, then sacrificing Himself was the dumbest act of all eternity, since He didn’t have to do it. It is our selfish pride, refusing to bow to the God of the universe, that makes us want to earn salvation, to make our own way to heaven. If we could earn it, it wouldn’t be free. It wasn’t free for Jesus. “He was wounded for our transgressions (sins); he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
God does not expect us to be perfect. We can’t change ourselves, or clean ourselves up before we come to Him. He takes us just as we are. Then He cleans us up and makes us new. Jesus told one of the religious leaders, Nicodemus, “You must be born again.” This is referring to a spiritual re-birth that can only occur by asking Jesus to take away the junk and make us new. As we attend church, sit under preachers that really preach His word, and not this feel-good nonsense that doesn’t help anybody become a better person, God uses His word to teach us how to live the life He has planned for us. The Bible is the manual for our journey on earth. It sure changed me because the Holy Spirit came to live in my heart when I asked Jesus for that new life. The Holy Spirit helps me understand God’s word when I read it. He teaches me how to apply it to my life. I am a new creature. Old things are passed away. The old negative, critical, angry me is dead. I am alive in Christ. Praise the Lord!