In the Hand of God
I've often thought about her, the woman caught in adultery, brought by her accusers to stand before Jesus for judgment. The Scribes and Pharisees had nothing but malicious intentions. They knew that this woman was guilty of sin punishable by death according to the scripture. They purposefully brought her and placed her in the midst of those who knew her in order to publicly humiliate under the pretense of being servants of God. They brought her to stand guilty before the Perfect One.
I think about her standing there alone in her guilt. She never claimed to be innocent. She knew she had sinned. And here she stood humiliated and alone in front of her peers and her accusers. The fear that must have gripped her soul. Not only did she stand before these in her shame, but she had been brought to stand before the Son of God. Her accusers were quick to point out her wrongdoing. They even pointed out what the law said should happen next. I imagine them smiling as they stood there condemning her to punishment by death. I imagine the people in the crowd whispering about her and her sin. I see her with her tear stained face awaiting certain death.
But Jesus, He just stooped down and began to write in the dirt. I have often wondered what He was writing. Many assume that He was writing the Ten Commandments, but we don't really know. Maybe He was writing the names of those who stood there. Maybe He was listing the sins that many there had committed. Maybe it wasn't what He wrote at all, but the way He conducted Himself, ignoring their attempts to force Him to condemn her. Whatever it was, it made all the difference.
When they wouldn't give up in their pursuit to have her condemned, Jesus stood to His feet and stated that anyone there without sin should cast the first stone, and then He went back to writing in the dirt. I can see them now looking at the ground where His finger was writing in the dirt. I see them slowly one by one being convicted of their own sinful transgressions and walking away knowing themselves to be guilty as well.
And so after they had all gone away, this woman caught in the very act of adultery found herself alone with Jesus. He was the only one who stood without sin...the only one worthy to cast a stone. I see Him standing before her, asking who was remaining to accuse her and she said that they had all gone away. Then Jesus, the one who was worthy to cast judgment looked into her guilty eyes and spoke those beautiful words, "Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more."
Here was a woman who stood guilty of committing a sin. The crowd knew she was guilty. What they also knew was that they themselves stood guilty of sin as well, which led them to lay down their stones of judgment and self-righteousness and walk away. Jesus loved her in spite of her sin. She was why He came. He came for sinners. He came to shower us with unconditional redemptive love.
It was late at night when he sat crying at the foot of our bed telling us the news we never expected to hear. Although my heart was breaking and filled with disappointment, all I saw before me was my firstborn...my little blond haired boy...consumed in guilt and shame, feeling undeserving of my love and forgiveness, yet wanting so bad for me to love him enough to forgive...to lay down the stone that I could throw and instead wrap my arms around him in love. And so as he offered to gather his things and leave, it was my chance to forgive as I am so often forgiven.
My son sat at the foot of my bed and told me that his girlfriend was pregnant. I went over it in my head a million times...what could I have done differently? Didn't I teach him right from wrong? Should I have changed churches sooner? Maybe if he had had better Christian mentors? Should I have been more strict? Had he tried to reach out to me and I missed it? But while my head was going through the questions, my heart looked at the tear streaked face of this man who had made me a mom. My heart saw him for who he was...he was still that good kid that I had the honor of raising. He had never been in trouble. He had never drank alcohol, smoked a cigarette, or taken drugs. He never even got a speeding ticket. This man before me was the same kid who stayed with his grandparents when they were sick, who mows his grandmother's yard, who loves little kids and doesn't mind them crawling all over him. And I did the only thing I could do...I took him outside on the porch and we prayed. We prayed for forgiveness and for guidance. We held hands and thanked God for His amazing grace and forgiveness. We prayed for his girlfriend that she would find peace and have a healthy pregnancy. And we prayed for the precious baby that would one day bring us joy.
They have our blessing. our love, and our forgiveness. No, they didn't have to get married, they wanted to get married. It was the plan all along. They have made things right with God and with each other. I am learning to be a mother-in-law and how to love an adult son who is now the spiritual leader of his own household. Her parents are learning how to live with an empty nest while welcoming my son as their own. We are blessed. We are blessed to have two children who chose to be responsible and give life to a precious baby that they could have eliminated without anyone knowing. We are blessed to see two people who love each other make a commitment before God to live for Him and raise their baby in His house. We are blessed to await the arrival of a precious gift from God.
And while you're here, can I just say that I have seen him. I have had the honor to see this beautiful little life that is forming in a quiet hidden place. I have seen his little hand and his fingers. They are so perfect...ready to reach one day and grasp my finger in his little fingers. I have seen his little feet and his little toes, and one day I will kiss those precious little feet and marvel at how wonderfully made he is. I have seen his little heart beating...growing strong for days when he will run and laugh and play. I have seen him...and I have fallen absolutely in love with him. He is not a mistake. He is not an accident. He is a creation of the Creator being fearfully and wonderfully made in a hidden place. His name and form are known by the Most High. His days are all written in God's plan. And yes, God has a plan for this little one. I don't know what it is yet, and I may not live to ever know, but I do know that he is already bringing my heart unspeakable joy.
And so I ask you as you finish reading, to pause a moment and look at the stone you are holding in your hand, for I know how easy it is to rush to grab one. Just look at it before you are tempted to throw it. Take a minute and look at Jesus writing in the dirt. Could He have a message for you there as well? Could He be asking you to lay aside the stone, and instead to take an opportunity to show His grace, mercy, and love to two people who really are no different than you are? Could He be asking you to love them like He loves you? I hope so because I love those two (well, three) with all my heart...and so does God. I am so overwhelmed by His grace and mercy, and I am so thankful that He forgives. His grace really is amazing...and I am grateful for seeing that same grace in the eyes and actions of some of you. May He bless you richly for your love.