But let me tell you about last night...
After VBS Family Night, we went to Baskin-Robbins with a new church family to get to know them a little better. (Free advice - try the "Thunder and Lightning" next time!). We ended up staying pretty late and pulled in the driveway at almost 10:00 PM. We told the kids "Go inside, brush your teeth and go to bed."
A few minutes later, I saw my third child, Abby, running through the house. I pulled her aside and asked her, "Have you brushed your teeth yet?" Very quickly, she said, "Yes." I don't know why but I wasn't fully convinced. I asked to smell her breath and all I could smell was ice cream - I think chocolate chip cookie dough.
We had a little talk. As she sat on my lap in the darkened living room, I could see the conviction in her face. It seemed different this time - not the "sorry I was caught" kind but the "I hate that I did that" kind. As I pressed the issue some more, the pouty lip began to stick out and her eyes began to get wet. She knew what was coming.
But the Spirit was also dealing with me. I could sense a very real prodding of the Spirit to use this situation for His glory. It's hard to explain but I just knew that this was one of those "divine appointments" people talk about.
I asked Abby if she knew the implications of telling lies to parents. She did and the wet eyes were now dripping down onto her almost-seven-year-old beautiful face. I reassured her that even though she most certainly did deserve a very severe punishment and even though I was very angry at her disobedience and lying, I was not going to do that. I explained to her the unfamiliar concept of MERCY and I think she understood that she was not going to get what she most definitely deserved.
I then explained to her about other sins in her life and the punishment that God had to administer to her because of those acts of rebellion. I could see the "wheels turning" in her head as I told her that God withheld that punishment from her and instead poured out his anger on Jesus Christ. She could now SEE the relationship between sin and the cross.
Using the concept of the Law, I was able to lead her to see that she was lost. She saw that she had broken one of God's commands and how she had sinned. Not just against me but against the One who is Truth, the One who cannot lie.
It was at this point that she was saved. It didn't take some magical prayer. It didn't take walking the aisle to shake hands with a preacher. Sitting on her dad's lap at 10:30 at night, Abby came out of the darkness that had shrouded her for almost seven years and stepped into the glorious light of Christ. The whole of the Trinity completed the work last night. God's election of Abby before the world was formed was made manifest in my presence. The Holy Spirit was convicting and drawing her towards the Father as I watched her heart melt from stone to flesh. The blood that Christ shed on the cross two millennia ago and offered to the Father by her Mediator and applied it to this precious little girl as the Father accepted that perfect sacrifice of the perfect Son.
The couple with which we had enjoyed ice cream earlier in the evening told of their long, painful journey into God's family. Though now brimming with the vibrancy of a true faith in a living Savior, they spoke of years wasted in selfish living. They spoke of opportunities long since gone to enjoy the only life truly worth living.
Oh, how thankful I am that the Lord has spared Abby all of this.