Tuesday, March 17, 2015

When Mere Words Failed

The room had fallen completely still, the stillness of intense attention and interest. It was one of those God moments. When you know completely that the Holy Spirit is present and impacting hearts. When you know the words coming out of your mouth aren't coming from your own mind, but the mind of Christ alive in you. Jesus' presence was palpable.

It was during our weekly Bible study and most of my teachers were hearing the term 'propitiation' for the first time. Propitiation. The working out of God's wrath on someone or something other than the deserving person.

For centuries, this was seen in the appeasing of God's wrath through the constant stream of sacrificed animals. However, those offerings were only a faint shadow of the true and final sacrifice: the Lamb of God. That dark and beautiful day when the enormity of God's anger for every sinful act, word, and thought of God's people throughout the centuries was poured out on the head of the Perfect God-Man, Jesus. When He suffered one of the most excruciating deaths known to man, so that every trembling heart was given confidence to come before God with joy and not fear. Their relationship with Him made perfectly whole and unhindered because of that agonizing and wonderful act.

Simple words are not enough to convey the weight of that truth. That day, simple words failed me. But as I tripped and stumbled through trying to explain and make clear this precious truth of Scripture, God showed up. Understanding began to shine in their eyes, and as I scanned their faces, I was amazed to find tears pouring down the face of one of my teachers. This teacher who for 2 1/2 years has been one of the most unreadable, seemingly untouchable people I have worked with. Whose stance has mostly been arms crossed than arms wide open. That teacher who generally demands proof for my every statement. The one I thought I might never get past her mind to her heart. That teacher sat before me, tears falling fast as she diligently wiped them away with her handkerchief, and I was amazed.

I was amazed at the power and goodness of Jesus to speak to hearts. And His goodness in allowing me to take part. I am nothing without Him: just a fumbling, desperate girl. But because of His power and kindness towards me, I can take part in His work of touching hearts. I can watch Him do miracles that I couldn't even think to request. What an incredible gift! What a precious privilege!


  1. Melanie, I too have grappled with the word propitiation as my children in AWANA have had that verse in I John to memorize. Its one of those words that is so rich in meaning that a substitute word is just inadequate. Hopefully tonight in AWANA I will have an opportunity to create a better word picture for my class. Jean

  2. Wow! I know what you mean, Melanie. There are hardly words to describe the awing moments when God shows us His presence and uses our weakness for His glory. What a reminder that the things we do are ultimately about God and not us! ~Julie S.