Permission to Believe

I stand at the window, watching the dying embers of orange fall over the horizon.

I wonder about days ahead, when kids aren’t in toddler beds and backyard isn’t strewn with sticks and balls and popsicle wrappers. I wonder how I might stand at a similar window, seeing similar sights…how might I be so different, so strong, so full of faith and the Holy Spirit, like Stephen.

He speaks. He says, “What are you waiting for?       A lightening bolt from Me? A rushing wind? What are you waiting for to believe?

“I AM who I Am and you are who I say.”

This is every woman’s dream, is it not? Every man, woman, boy, and girl’s, to be everything God speaks of us, once we really hear what He’s said?

So why can’t I believe it? What am I waiting for?

I ask it of Him: “Lord, You know me better than I know myself. You know I long for this, to be in You and Your Words in me and to be full of faith and the Spirit and so monopolized by You that nothing else matters. So what am I waiting for?”

He answers with scripture, “To them He gave the right…” (John 1:12) “You need to give yourself permission to believe. I’ve given you the right.”

A lifetime of religion (much of it good) somehow left me thinking God’s word and God’s gifts and God’s grace came with strings attached. God’s word always needed to be explained. It was always expounded upon and elaborated on, like it had to undergo surgery so we could understand what God was really saying, so that we would not take it to mean or say what God didn’t intend.

There was no simple, blessed gospel. 

I see it happen all the time and I call it whittling. It’s like taking a knife to a tree and whittling it… whittling, whittling it right on down to a mere toothpick.

“Here,” they said Sunday after Sunday, handing me the toothpick. “Here’s what you can take away from this passage.”

And now God is saying, “You can take the whole blooming tree! I’ve given you that right.”

“You are fully loved, freely forgiven, unconditionally accepted, deliberately chosen, delightfully approved, purposefully adopted, lavishly blessed, and exquisitely beautiful.”

“And I am exactly everything I AM. You have permission to believe.”

So after the toddlers are in their beds and the yard is still strewn, I open up worn, beloved pages and I take the hand of my Savior and I say, “Jesus, with Your help and by Your permission, I will believe this,” and I begin to read:

“Grace to you, and peace {Grace and Peace, The signature Gifts from God!} from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in His mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love.

“Long, long ago, He decided to adopt us into His family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure He took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of His lavish gift giving by the hand of His beloved Son.

“Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, His blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people. Free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans He took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ…

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, He had His eye on us…” (Ephesians 1:3-12, MSG)

I feel like preachin’ a sermon, a simple one: Brethren, we’ve been given a permission slip. We can skip class and homework and all the demands of rigid teacher and we can go out and take the whole blooming tree.

{Bet you never heard a sermon like that}

But Hallelujah, it makes sense to me.


2 Comments on “Permission to Believe”

  1. Mrs. Santos says:

    It makes sense to me too. But it still feels like a jelly donut when you have been taught to only eat unsalted crackers. Those feelings of guilt, I remind myself, come from the accuser of the brethren and not God. I’ll gladly take the whole tree and enjoy the shade and fruit it offers. Thank you for this post.

  2. Renee says:

    wow I never even notice that verse in that way before, thanks 🙂 Love it!!

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