The Container - Part Two
You see, when I opened the present and tossed the container aside, no one told me that the container is just a valuable as the gift itself! I tossed it in the trash and went on with my life! Not going to hell, but I was certainly not living a new life. I quickly returned to life as it had been.
Growing up in a Sunday Christian household, we would put on our best smiles and praise the Lord on Sunday mornings. Sometimes we’d even make it through the whole day…but more often than not, we back in our dysfunctional mess before the evening service began. My teenage years were volatile and it led to me giving away my virginity before marriage; robbing myself and my future husband the joys of a godly wedding night. Our 20’s were just days of existing, doing whatever we pleased, living for the weekends with friends. We had children and loved life, but it was pointless living. God would be nothing more than my ticket out of hell for way too long in my life.
[I do want to say that even though we went about our love journey in the wrong order, the boy I gave myself to, would be my only partner and someday my husband. God was watching over us both, even then, when we didn’t acknowledge Him. We still suffered the consequences of premarital sex, but God has restored us and has even used our misfortunes to help other couples. We praise Him for the good work He has done and still doing in our relationship.]
Many years later, I began hearing that pesky voice that would sometimes whisper in my ear, that I most likely would ignore. But this time, the whisper was more like a shout. Something about the trash. The trash? The trash!!! It’s about the trash! The garbage truck is coming and I’m realizing that there is something in there that should have never been thrown away. The container! The wrapping! The original box with receipt! Proof of Purchase!
No, I’m not about to return the gift for store credit! Its mine forever…will never lose it. But the package is very important. I had to dig through pound after pound of ugly, dirty, smelly trash; but finally, I reached the bottom of the dumpster and there it was. Torn, wadded up, and neglected…the mangled container. Was I really in need of this? Did I really need to carry this container around? After all, it looked as if it had been scared and torn and it was even bloody. It seems like it would be nuisance to have that in my life…Always having to consider its presence when I had to decide what to do or which way to go. I mean, really…who needs this? But as I took a closer look, I began to see that this was not trash at all. In fact, when closely inspected, I began to realize its beauty. Not beauty in the way the world had trained me to see, but the eyes of my heart were overriding the eyes of my flesh for the first time. As I un-crumpled the packaging, I could see a peace and a safeguard, but more importantly I could feel a love, a warmth, and a guidance that I had never known before. I’ve always had it…it’s been there all along, but until I took it out of the bin and started using it, it was no benefit to me.
God carefully wrapped the gift in the most precious package ever! He wrapped this gift of salvation, redemption, and perfect organic love in His Son, Jesus Christ! His most precious of precious, His perfect child!
Looking even closer still, I could see the container held a key. A key to the door that was in a part of my heart that I had thought was inaccessible. I took the key from the container and ran to door and opened it. There before the eyes of my heart sat The Mercy Seat! Once hidden by the Glory of God and only available to a very select few, was now sitting in the den of my heart! I heard, for the first time in a very long time, the voice I heard that day in 1985. He was asking me to come and “sit a spell” and talk to Him. It was my Father...the Father who had given the gift so very long ago; the gift that will never be taken from me. We had a lot of catching up to do over several visits. It was a wonderful reunion, although He never really left.
You see, the package, the container, had a name. Yes, the container is Jesus Christ in the form of the Holy Spirit…but I needed to realize that this container was my personal guide through this life. It was His voice that I had been hearing all along.
Every mistake I was about to make, I would hear Him calling, but I didn’t listen. How much different could my life had been if I had only treasured the container from the beginning. The Father quickly interrupted this line of thinking, this pattern of self-condemnation, and He quickly reminded me that while I had indeed made mistakes, that the gift of redemption was not a one time thing. The container has been with me all along gathering up my sin and saving them for the time that I would recognize them and repent from them. He was there the whole time, keeping step right behind me, aside of me, and ahead of me; cleaning up, walking along side keeping watch, and going ahead to prepare my future. He knew me all along. …And not only that, but He had been transforming my sin into character and experience to be used for good in some way down the road.
…And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Rom. 8:28)
All of this from the container! The container that I threw in the trash! I would never make this mistake again.
I would like to introduce you all to my very Good Friend, JIM. Partly because I am goofy (I guess I got a little extra goofy, where most women got maternal instinct)…I’ve named the Holy Spirit…my container…JIM. Yes, I know that I am married to James, who is sometimes called Jim (but I don’t call him that so it doesn’t count)…but this JIM is also known as, “Jesus In Me.” The name reminds me that I am to yield my fleshly desires to those of the Lord and whenever I struggle with that, I am reminded that the battle with sin was already won and I have to simply let Jesus be In Me. [Side note, if you hear me talking to myself and I refer to anyone other than someone named JIM, please feel free to call the white coats.]
So, the gift really was a three-for-one special! Salvation…the not going to hell! The most wonderful gift that I never deserved. For now, I put it on the shelf, where I can always see it, treasure it, and Thank God for it.
…Redemption is one that also lives on the shelf, but I take it down and use it more often than I’d like…but power of it is amazing! A new merciful slate wiped clean every morning!
…and then there’s the container…JIM. He is always with me! Since the day I dug Him up from the bin, I have never let Him down. I carry Him everywhere I go and try to remember to consult Him at every turn on the journey. Sometimes, I forget or think I have it all under control and I go off on my own…but I quickly run the car into the ditch.
You see, I never really was driving on the wrong side of the road [and by the way, when in Japan, please don’t say that…say “opposite” side, not “wrong” side] …I was on the right side and heading in the right direction all along, but the problem was that I wasn’t letting JIM drive. With me behind the wheel, we had to keep to stopping for gas or repairs or with the way I had been eating away at the world’s table, to take care of some digestive business. Now that JIM is driving, the path is much smoother and the trouble spots are much easier to endure. In fact, I’ve abandoned the car altogether and I just enjoy the long walk. The really cool part is that the container that held my gift of eternal life, the very same container, now contains me…and one day, He’ll present me Holy and Blameless as a gift to the Father! -Amen!
P.S. Is the garbage truck coming down the alley? Are you sure there isn’t something in there that’s worth keeping?
“The Container” - ©2010; Belinda-Marie Purkey
The Container is a story of my real-life discovery of the Holy Spirit. Although, I’ve taken creative license in recalling my story, the events are very much true.
Author’s Note & Epilogue:
I once heard a story from a Chaplain, about how he and his family were attending a Christmas party at the Base General’s house. He had been nervous because his young son was rambunctious and didn’t want him to cause any chaos. That wouldn’t be the impression he’d have wanted to leave with the General. He had a stern talking to before hand laying out exactly the behavior he expected and the consequences of not doing so. The time had come to leave and so far, so good. The boy had been well-behaved. Just before they were to leave, the boy said he needed to go to the bathroom. He tried to encourage the boy to wait until they got home (only a few minutes away), but the son made it clear that he urgently had to go. So he asked Mrs. General if his son could use their restroom and she directed the way.
More than enough moments had passed and so he became worried that maybe his son was up to no good. He knocked on the door and asked if he was almost finished. There was no answer, but he could hear crying through at the door. He opened the door to find his son standing over the toilet looking down into the bowl full of ‘poo’ with tears coming out of his eyes. He asked what in the world was going on and the son tearfully admitted that he dropped Jesus in the toilet. HUH???
As stated, it was Christmastime and the bathroom was decorated for the season, with a beautiful miniature manger scene displayed on the top of the toilet tank. I t was complete with the animals, Mary, Joseph, the Wise Men; ECT…except the Baby Jesus was missing from the troth. The boy was beside himself with tears because it had been an accident. He must’ve bumped the toilet and sent the Baby Jesus sailing into the sea of #2. The boy didn’t want to flush it, because he knew it would probably stop it up and overflow and then everyone would’ve known what he had done and then he would be in big trouble. But the alternative of sticking his hand in the ugly toilet wasn’t exactly appealing either.
Enter Super-Dad. He knew by just looking at the boy that it truly had been an accident and he wanted to bail him out. That and he also didn’t want to overflow the toilet at the General’s house. Hey, we parents do what we have to do, right? So, in Dad’s hand went to fish out the Baby Jesus.
OK, Belinda-Marie? So why gross us out? Well, the story demonstrates a couple of facts. Jesus left His glorious place in heaven and jumped into the toilet. He endured the same exact “mess” that we experience as humans on this earth and then some. He did it because He loves us. Secondly, the Father will continually keep sticking His hand in our messes, as many times as it takes. The farther along we walk the path with Jesus the less messes we are likely to make…but still we will make them.
He is always just on the other side of the door and when He doesn’t hear from us, He will knock on the door and ask if we’re alright. Some of us will say, “It’s OK. I have it under control…I’ll be out in a minute.” …but this never is the case. The harder we try, even if we have the best of intentions, we will make the mess bigger and more widespread, as it overflows. But when we recognize our need for help and admit to Father what we’ve done, whether intentional or not, He will always roll up His sleeve and stick His hand in the middle of our mess and restore us to a clean and sanitized state.
My point [and I do have one] is that I have made so many messes in my life, that the prospect of sticking my hand in a real dirty toilet seems nonchalant. My childhood, my teenage years, and most of my 20’s were a big series of messes….some of my own making and some I was the victim of other people’s choices. Regardless, God has stuck his hand in my toilet countless times. He’d pick me up and clean me off and I’d dive right back in. He’s a good and faithful God and because of that decision I made on July 4, 1985, I was forever under His lifetime love policy. Not only does He continually benefit my life with continual love & disaster maintenance, but He even paid the premium. Not even the Geico Gecko and Stanley Steamer can outdo that one!
Anyway, there is a lot of stuff that I did not disclose in “The Container”. There are very specific incidents and amazing episodes of God’s work in those incidents, that would lead to my dumpster diving. Not that it’s a secret, because the Lord requires of me transparency…But because this is blog and not an epic, I needed to skip a lot of good stuff to get to the point I really feel I’m supposed to share in this moment.
I am in the process of putting to paper my testimony. I am preparing to, at the Lord’s leading, to share my Living Letter to the World that the Lord God has written not in ink, but of spirit on my heart. (2 Cor. 3:3) I can’t very well be prepared to tell God’s story in my life, if I haven’t read it myself.
I wouldn’t dare tell others what they should be lead to do, but I feel strongly that every Christian should consider writing out their own testimony and become really familiar with it…just like scripture. You just never know when the opportunity will present itself to share all or parts of it, in any given situation. The more familiar you are with your own story, or His Story in You, the more readily recalled it will be when you need it.