He Remembers No More
Isaiah 54:4-8 (NIV)
4 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. 5 For your Maker is your husband— the Lord Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. 6 The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit— a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God. 7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 8 In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer.
I was taught in church from a very young age that premarital sex was a sin. I told myself when I was younger that I would save my virginity for my husband because I wanted to obey God and do the right thing. This, as well as my religion, went out the window when I started college at the age of 18. Everyone was having sex around me, and no one else I knew thought it was a sin. If everyone else was doing it, why couldn’t I? So, I lost my virginity in college, and I didn’t stop.
My spiritual life, however, changed when I was in my late twenties. It was during this time that I truly came to Christ. As I was bringing Jesus back into my life after almost a decade after abandoning Him, I now had to make the transition between my life before Christ, to my life with Christ. My prayer life grew, I began to attend church more, and I paid close attention to the sermons to hear what God was telling me. My relationship with an atheist ended and I was back in the dating scene, so I made "is a Christian" my top priority in finding my future husband. My attitudes and behaviors began to change drastically with my growing faith. Soon after, I began dating my now husband (a Christian!), and we began attending Grace Church, where I began to flourish as a Christian. Several months after these changes, I decided that I wanted to get baptized at the end of the year, where I was going to proclaim to the entire congregation that I was going to live my life as God’s child. My life was really transforming, and I was growing rapidly as a Christian, except for one area: sex.
I remember during a Bible study that if we truly followed God, we would hate our sins. When I heard that, I immediately thought of my sin of premarital sex. I engaged in that sin without ever feeling guilty, even though I knew in my head that it was a sin. My indifference bothered me, so I began to pray for God to change my heart so that I would begin to hate my sin. Sure enough, He did, and I began to really feel guilty, which led me to repentance. I prayed for forgiveness for having sex all those years, and I asked for the strength to do what was right. He answered my prayer, and He gave me and my boyfriend (now husband) the ability to stay abstinent until we got married. I felt truly forgiven for my past, and excited for my fresh start. I felt so relieved after this decision was made. Finally, I could call myself a Christian without feeling like a hypocrite for doing something so sinful behind closed doors. I thanked God for helping me do the right thing.
Several months later, however, I found out during a routine pap smear that I had HPV, a sexually transmitted infection (commonly referred to as “STI”). HPV is something that can stay dormant in your body for years, so I really had no idea if I had obtained it one or ten years ago, and with which partner. I cried so much when I received this news, because I thought that my choice to abstain from premarital sex was a sign of me defeating my sin, but getting HPV felt like my sins were never forgotten, and that I was being punished for what I had done in my past. I felt dirty, tainted, and deeply ashamed. I carried this burden with me for days, and into the September 2018 Kingdom Series.
On the last day of Kingdom Series, we each had to give our testimony. I got up to the microphone, and shared my story about my journey with sexual sin, and how I felt like I was being punished for my past, despite my efforts to right my wrongs in the present. I was crying so much because I was so tired of feeling so much guilt and shame. God had revealed Himself to me powerfully during that Kingdom Series, but despite all the wonderful things that had happened during the conference, I still wasn’t completely healed. Sharing my burdens with that room was my cry for help to God and His people.
After I shared, the entire room of people prayed for me. Tears were streaming down my face because all of these people were praying the same prayers I had been praying for days now. After the room quieted, the pastor put his hands on my head and prayed for me. He commanded that Satan leave, and that I may be healed of my sickness. It sounds crazy, but in that moment, I knew that God answered him, and that I was healed. There was no doubt in my mind, that in that moment, I was HPV free!
After that conference ended, I felt healed, in every sense of the word - physically, emotionally, and spiritually. My guilt and shame were replaced with joy and peace. The sins of my past were washed away by Jesus Christ, and I could finally believe that!
I didn’t share the news with others that I was HPV free, because I didn’t have any physical proof, but I knew deep in my heart, that God healed me. God gave me great faith that day, and for all the days after.
This entire experience reminded me of a miracle that’s never left my mind since I heard it just several months prior during a sermon. I’m talking about the miracle Jesus performed for the Roman officer’s slave in Luke 7. The officer had so much faith in Jesus, that he trusted that if Jesus simply commanded that his slave would be healed, that it would be done. He didn’t even need to see Jesus Himself to know that Jesus would do it. Like the Officer, God gave me great faith so that I didn’t have to see something to believe that it happened.
“6 So Jesus went with them. But just before they arrived at the house, the officer sent some friends to say, “Lord, don’t trouble yourself by coming to my home, for I am not worthy of such an honor. 7 I am not even worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. 8 I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.” 9 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to the crowd that was following him, he said, “I tell you, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!” 10 And when the officer’s friends returned to his house, they found the slave completely healed.”
Six months later, I had my follow up pap smear done, and my results showed that I was HPV free! As exciting as this news was to find out, it was only worldly confirmation of something that I already knew God had done six months prior. I am so grateful to our God, who is the ultimate healer!
For Your Reflection
Believe in God who is the ultimate healer of our minds, hearts, and bodies. He not only wants to heal/save us from our sins but He also wants to free us from our shame and guilt. All of our past, present, and future have been redeemed in Jesus through our faith. Would you trust in the cleansing power of Jesus’ blood and in prayer draw near to Him with confidence and thanksgiving?