“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
In a small Oregon community a 13-year-old by the name of “E” recoils from the cascading impact of years of unhealthy relationships in her life. The chasm in her life is relational, but her inability to process and translate any of these feelings takes her to a place of deeper disappointment and abandonment. Two weeks after she marks her 14th birthday, E gives birth to a little boy.
By most practical measures, and through the lens of statistics, the die is cast. Game over. Welcome to the road of life with no exits.
True to form, predictions become reality. E is kicked out of her home, baby in tow. She floats in and out of homes. With each new couch she sleeps on her dignity wanes, to say nothing of her prospects for a future.
Yes, God audaciously extends a message of hope through the lungs, lips and life experience of a young woman in our mission. E was no longer alone.
Soon, what felt, at first, like a companion in the misery becomes a messenger in the mayhem. “God has not written you off.” “God does not look at statistics.”
This was not a make over, or a do over… it was transformation.
The scandal of grace is that completely broken, desperately alone 14-year- olds with infants in arms are invited to embrace “new.” And even “new” doesn’t quite capture it. For new could apply to a wardrobe or a vehicle or a school or a job… but in “God terms” new loops back to creation.
E said yes to Jesus.
When she uttered the word “yes,” her world didn’t change… her heart did, her prospects did, her story did.
Mercy and hope and love and community and compassion washed over her.
There was no cosmic eraser, just the power of redemption.
The old was gone. The new had come.
Meaning and purpose consumed the void that once was filled with the echoed screams for help.
There was nothing cosmetic about this. Lipstick doesn’t cover up shame and hopelessness. Yet, guilt is no match for grace.
Jesus doesn’t vaporize our sin – He pays for it, and then He liberates us to live life… as a new creation.
Jesus doesn’t telepathically lift us out of our circumstances… He gives us a context and a perspective and a plan.
He unlocks the cell and as we, as E, emerges from the confines of her own choices and the pain-filled choices of others, Jesus introduces her, as His child, as His daughter, and as His masterpiece.
Extravagant. Wildly undeserved. New.
In rural Oregon, and in every repentant heart where Jesus is embraced.
The old is gone.