The Bad News

I've been thinking a lot lately about the day I was saved. I’ve been trying to remember and analyze the way the Gospel made the leap from my head to my heart. How did Jesus become someone I knew and not just someone I knew about?

As a seven-year-old girl, I'm sure I could have articulated the Gospel pretty clearly. I knew what Jesus had done for me. I knew, at least intellectually, that God sent His Son to save sinners. So what exactly happened in my heart in the pew of that little church?

The miracle that the Holy Spirit worked that day — the switch that finally flipped in me — was not just that I realized that Jesus was able to save me. I understood for the first time that I was bad enough to need Him to!

Sure, I hadn’t committed any heinous sins by the world's standards. But my little heart was rebellious and hostile toward the Father who had been loving and calling me. And I knew it.

I had to face the bad news before the Good News could truly be good.

God taught this lesson so beautifully to His people in the tiny minor prophet book of Haggai, and He has been teaching and re-teaching me the same lesson as I study through it.

After returning from Babylonian exile, the Israelites were living in rebellion. So God sent the prophet Haggai to slap them around a little bit, to make them face the bad news about themselves. Over and over he asked the people to “consider.” To think hard about what they had done and about how it had been ruining their lives and breaking God’s heart.

And they repented and obeyed!

But here’s the part that gets me: God didn’t want them to be finished remembering their rebellion — even after they obeyed. While they are in right relationship with Him, living in obedience and blessing, His message is the same: “Consider."

He didn't want them to wallow or continue to feel ashamed for sin that had been forgiven, but He didn't want them to forget what it was like to need Him!

This is His reminder to me too.

Don’t you dare forget the misery you felt before you were saved. Make yourself remember what it was like to try to be in charge and to watch your efforts fail. Remember what broken relationship with God felt like.

Don’t forget that without Jesus, you are a naturally sinful and rebellious child.

Don’t stop considering the bad news. Because you never stop needing the Good News.