Once upon a time there was a Plain Jane. Plain Jane didn’t have an exciting testimony. She wasn’t snatched from the jaws of heinous sin like murder or prostitution or substance abuse. Plain Jane didn’t have a jaded past or a sordid history. It was just plain, maybe even boring.
Every so often, Plain Jane was tempted to believe her story of God’s work in her life wasn’t miraculous since there was no huge, 180-degree turn from sin to God. She didn’t think her new life in Christ was what you might call “good copy.”
Of course, I am that Plain Jane. Sometimes I’m so in awe of what God has done in someone’s life, rescuing them from despicable ways, that I realize my testimony’s not so riveting. My story doesn’t include God reaching down and snatching me from the grip of what we consider scandalous sin.
Maybe you know what I’m talking about. Maybe you, too, think your story is somehow less miraculous, or not “cool” without unsavory past sins.
Don’t believe that lie.
My Boring Life
My Plain Jane story begins on October 1, 1975. I was my parents’ second chance at trying to stay together. It can only get better from there, right? My parents divorced when I was six. At twelve, I went through Catholic confirmation classes, but we never went to church. My theology was a concoction of those classes, religious literature, my own thoughts, and a Jane Fonda movie called Agnes of God.
And so I began adolescence, armed with a half-baked religion made from my own conclusions and a heretical Hollywood production. I set out on my journey with God, pursuing a moral life, cutting the proverbial ribbon on the “build your own God” construction site.
I truly wanted God to be happy with me, but I was convinced that morality was the ticket. I figured He probably would accept me if I was “good.”
I won’t tell you that I didn’t experiment physically along with my friends, but oh, my conscience would rip me apart if ever I crossed the line. I always tried to obey the letter of the law, hoping my conscience was enough for God to look on me with favor. But my heart was another story altogether. You know that kid who, when told to sit down, obeys but says, “I’m sittin’ on the outside but I’m STANDIN’ on the inside?!” Yep, that was me. Outwardly obedient, inwardly rebellious.
Then I met Jimmy (my now-husband), and that’s when things changed. I made quick work of getting to know him, and asked him what “religion” he was. He replied, “I don’t think of it as a ‘religion’ as much as I consider it a ‘relationship.’” I’d never heard that before, but I went with it: “Yeah, whatever, he believes in God. Check.” Besides, any half-baked Christian needs to make sure a potential boyfriend at least believes in God.
But Jimmy was thinking more deeply about things. He was glad I had the boldness to ask that question, but unlike me, his faith was set squarely on Christ’s work on the cross. He knew we weren’t on the same page, but decided to let God work in me.
So he popped the question: “Will you go to church with me?”
I went, and survived. God used that church service to reveal the true depth of my sinfulness before Him. My morality wasn’t going to get me anywhere. I realized that it doesn’t really matter if you murdered someone or just took a cookie when Mommy said “no.”
All sin is “transgression of the law” (James 2:10) and “all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23). God hates sin; its payment is death, putting all sinners—that’s everyone—on a level playing field.
At the core of every sin is rebellion against a holy God. God says “Obey,” but we say “No!” And the consequence of that is eternal death, a weighty punishment. But here comes the miracle…
Anything But Ordinary
Jesus Christ took that weighty punishment for our rebellion so we didn’t have to. All our sin has been paid for—if that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is.
“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.” (Romans 8:11)
WOW! The power of God that raised Christ from the dead is in me! THAT is extraordinary! There’s no such thing as a “boring” testimony. Every person who comes to Christ has a miraculous story: A sinner rescued by the miracle of God’s mercy and grace.
Maybe I wasn’t hooked on cocaine, or selling my body in prostitution, or planning murders. So what if I’m a Plain Jane? God saved me by His grace, and that is anything but ordinary. We shouldn’t ever call the work of Jesus Christ anything less than riveting, wonderful, and amazing! No matter what your story is, when God draws sinful people to Himself and moves them from a life of rebellion, it’s anything but boring.
It’s totally and utterly miraculous!