I had a fitful night of sleep, for some reason struggling with the memory of a transgression of long ago. Even now, nearly 50 years later, I feel the shame of it. I was attending a revival and staying at the home of a friend’s parents. I had arrived without purchasing a new pair of pantyhose, and realizing that I didn’t have any (going to church bare-legged was then considered brazen), I asked my hostess if she had a pair I could borrow. She checked her drawer and said, no, she didn’t have a clean pair. She left for the church early to make preparations, and after she was gone, I snuck into her bedroom, took a pair of pantyhose from the drawer, wore them to church, and returned them to the drawer before she got home.
The shame of this act comes back to haunt me every now and then, even though I’ve confessed it to the Lord many times and know I’ve been forgiven. Looking back, I often wonder why I thought it was better to steal and disrespect a gracious host than to go without pantyhose to a revival meeting. It’s because how I looked to others was more important to me than who I really was — this is a conversation for another day.
I pray (again), “God forgive me.”
“But child, I have. We’ve been over this before.”
I suddenly realize there has been a tune quietly playing in the depth of my soul, and I stop to listen and identify it. This happens occasionally – I awaken with a song in my head – and when it does, I consider the melody a message from God and immediately hunt down the lyrics.
Shall we gather at the river,
where bright angel feet have trod,
with its crystal tide forever
flowing by the throne of God?
Yes, we’ll gather at the river,
the beautiful, the beautiful river;
gather with the saints at the river
that flows by the throne of God.
On the margin of the river,
washing up its silver spray,
we will walk and worship ever,
all the happy golden day.
Ere we reach the shining river,
lay we every burden down;
grace to our spirits will deliver,
and provide a robe and crown.
Soon we’ll reach the shining river,
soon our pilgrimage will cease;
soon our happy hearts will quiver
with the melody of peace.
Verse three calls out to my heart and reminds me there is no reason to live in the past, be plagued by the past, or even recall the past. The grace of God has not only forgiven us, but He has gone ahead to prepare a place of reward for those who put their trust in Him.
Thank you, God, for this morning song that speaks to my heart and reminds me of my secure past, present, and future in you.
Revive us, and we will call on your name. Restore us, O Lord God Almighty; make your face shine upon us, that we may be saved. – Psalm 80:18-19 (NIV)