The Sufficiency of Jesus in Shameful Memories

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Donor Officer

I was returning to the place of my greatest single offense against God.

In 1995, in the Intensive Care Unit of Children’s Hospital, I took a look at my 3-month-old son and concluded that God was strong, cruel, capricious, wicked. 

God has rescued me from those thoughts back when I didn't really know him. But last week, I was walking down the same hall in the same hospital knowing I would see my now 16-year-old son hooked up to monitors and probes. 

And I was deeply ashamed at the memories from 1995. 

But God Reminded Me

God mercifully helped me by reminding me that Christ has set me free from that sin: "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:1-2).

He reminded me that he will provide what I need today: "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).

That he is in control of everything right now: "Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps" (Psalm 135:6).

And he works all things for good: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).

All things — my son’s multiple disabilities, my treasonous, sinful, self-righteous, blasphemous words and behavior, even the very circumstances that had me walking down that hospital hallway — work together for good because God himself makes certain it works that way.

You Have Memories, Too

What I did and said in 1995 was shameful and sinful and worthy of my being condemned for eternity. But Jesus has dealt with it, and letting shame linger today is a different kind of sinful disobedience (See Pastor John, Battling the Unbelief of Misplaced Shame).

Prepare yourself today, Christian! I didn’t know I would be walking down those halls again. And you don’t know when you’ll be surprised by memories of your past shameful behavior, with your own heart and the evil one accusing you with evidence from your own life.

But God knows. And Jesus is enough.

(@johnpknight) is a Donor Officer at Desiring God. He is married to Dianne, and together they parent their four children: Paul, Hannah, Daniel, and Johnny. Paul lives with multiple disabilities including blindness, autism, cognitive impairments, and a seizure disorder. John writes on disability, the Bible, and the church at The Works of God.