“And be found in Him [Christ Jesus], not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death…” (Philippians 3;9,10)
On Easter Sunday, 1962, at the age of 7, I believed Jesus died on the cross for my sins, asked Him to forgive my sins, and received the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior.
At 19, I got married; it was an abusive marriage that ended in divorce almost 7 years later. The next 12 years were spent running from God and religion, until I was involved in a car accident on March 3, 1992.
At the hospital, it was determined that I had a broken back and the course of treatment was 6 weeks in traction. I heard the word “paralyzed” by a paramedic and an E.R. nurse, and the doctor told me he didn’t know if I’d walk again until I stood up for the first time. My dad had already started a prayer chain, and my mom was praying that I would be home from hospital by Easter. After 2 weeks in traction, I obtained a second opinion from an orthopedic surgeon which resulted in a quick transfer by ambulance to another hospital where I was immediately fitted for a back brace, and they had me up and walking the following day–it took 2 attempts to take 2 steps, but I was walking! A week later, with the aid of my dad and a walker, I left the hospital on Thursday prior to Easter.
God literally broke me to stop the self-destructive behavior, but it took another four years of pain, anger, and depression to cry out to God in January, 1996 and finally give up control of my out-of-control life!
On Easter Sunday, 1996, Ernie Haas sang at our church in Denver a song entitled: “He Loved Me with a Cross.” There is a line in that song that states: “I wasn’t on that hillside, to see Him on the tree, but as my guilt was placed upon Him, I know that, somehow, He saw me.” The Holy Spirit used that line to bring me to the truth of Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” The truth was obvious–He saw me because I was with Him on the cross! My past–with its rebellion, abuse, shame, addictions, anger, rejection, and depression–was crucified and buried with Him. I was raised to walk in the newness of His Life–forgiven, purified, righteous, accepted, loved, and protected!
The cross of Jesus Christ has given me a joyous present with the eager anticipation of a glorious eternity, but I was also given a new past! Hallelujah to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; by His stripes I am healed. Thank you, Jesus; I will sing Your praises until I am singing in Your Presence!
COULD YOU USE A NEW PAST?
Living in a fallen world
Gives all a share of pain;
When children are abused
There is more to explain.
Perfect parents do not exist
Until we are all above;
While living on planet Earth
There’ll be a lack of love.
When lack of love is suffered
Children perceive rejection;
Though none may be intended,
There is a tendency toward dejection.
When anger is common fare
And is vented on a child,
The damage sustained within
May never be reconciled.
Though parents can be the source
A child may accept the blame;
His adult life may be lived
In an attitude of shame.
When the cause of problems deep
Is buried and escapes detection,
Those in a world of hurt
Have no avenue for correction.
The treatment of choice today
Involves emotions and the mind;
Behavior change is sought
While to the Spirit we’re blind.
The body may be blamed–
A chemical imbalance in the brain;
The problem is seldom touched
Though there may be relief from pain.
Many are caught in escapes
With symptoms being addressed;
Short-term relief and pleasure
Allow the problem to be repressed.
The longer the problem’s avoided
The more the life is enslaved.
The power of sin is deceptive
Even though a person is saved.
When therapists are engaged
To attempt to untangle the mess,
The past with its myriad ‘issues’
Is a treasure trove to address!
But therapists addressing the past
Are like meteorologists and the weather
They may discuss it ’til the cows come home
And still not know whither or whether!
When we’re willing to see the problem
And give the Spirit full sway,
He knows all that’s happened
And is capable to take it away.
Our salvation gives a new future
And a present that is vast;
With that glorious inheritance,
He also gives a new past!
While we were in Adam
His past and ours were merged; (Rom. 5:12)
Now that we are in Christ,
To claim our freedom we’re urged. (Rom.6:11,13)
Though the hurts and pains of yesteryear
Are facts with which to deal,
Losing our lives at the Cross
Provides us a way to heal.
Our new life in Christ
Is replete with blessing and healing;
Not only have we a new destination
We know the Holy Spirit’s sealing.
Our redemption is complete
The Lord Jesus said, “It is finished.”
Nor the past beclouds the future
His power is undiminished.
As one called to be an ambassador–
A messenger of reconciliation,
I invite you to bury your past
At the Cross through identification.
It’s literally amazing what death will cure
Since resurrection life is its sequel;
In healing for past, present and future,
His life and power know no equal.
Come to the Savior and receive His life
In exchange for yours at the Cross;
Trying to live out of past pain or success
Will inevitably cause you great loss.
The world, the flesh and the Devil
Will taunt you with your past;
But when you live out of Jesus’ life
Freedom will be yours at last! (Gal. 5:1)
– Charles Solomon
Cathy serves as Administrative Manager of Grace Fellowship International. The poem is from Handbook of Exchanged Life Poetry, by Dr. Charles Solomon [Cathy’s dad]. GFI, 2003. (Available from our bookstore)