Most of my life I’ve been disappointed that I didn’t have a shocking story of how God saved me. I didn’t have any lurid details to share. My testimony seemed pretty boring. When someone asked why God saved me, my answer didn’t involve any prison sentences or illegal activity. Or at least I didn’t think it did.
I grew up in a Christian home and “prayed the prayer” to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was five. I knew that I was sinner because I was constantly in trouble for biting my older brothers. The next eleven years were spent striving–really striving– to be a “good girl.” I religiously avoided the big bad sins and proudly shunned those who committed them. I was proud of being a good Christian girl.
And then I went on a short mission trip to Germany. With the team, I spent the summer doing hard labor turning a pig farm into a youth camp. One night, the team activity involved throwing a ball of string from team member to team member, saying what you appreciated about the other person. Everyone had to receive the string at least once before it could be thrown to anyone a second time. In the end, it created quite a web with everyone holding their handful of strings; but I only had one string. No one was impressed with my goodness. Only one person had said anything nice about me, while others had five or six. I left the group and went to an attic to cry alone. What was it all for?! Why had I been so good for so long if no one was going to notice?!
Sitting in that upstairs window, looking at the summer German countryside through my tears, I began to understand that God loves me. He loves me not because of what I did or will do, but because Jesus covered my sins–even my attempts at goodness–with his blood; if it’s my goodness he sees, and my goodness is sullied with attempts to get other people—or even God–to be impressed with me, then my goodness isn’t very good. In fact, it’s bad!
While I thought I was being so good, I had been breaking all the rules of God: claiming his glory for my own; hating my neighbor who did bad things; being jealous for those who seemed better than me; lying with my life to make people think I was good; wanting other’s gifts and talents so I could feel better about myself. I had been living a very immoral life full of illegal activity, just like the older brother in the parable Jesus told of the two lost sons. I had habitually broken every law in the Book in my attempts to be “good.” And I needed someone to save me. To save me from my “goodness.”
And God did. It is shocking, that God would save a sinner like me, love me, and call me his daughter. I don’t need strings to represent people noticing how good I am. I simply need Jesus. By Amy.