Originally published on July 6, 2013
The stars and stripes, the red, white and blue. Makes me think of freedom. Makes me contemplate not only the freedoms we enjoy in our country, but the freedom I have in Christ. And as is often the case, my thoughts turned to Shelby. In many ways, she is held prisoner by Dravet Syndrome. Trapped in a body that doesn't work right - a sweet, but simple mind. So what freedoms is she afforded? What does freedom mean for my little girl?
1. Shelby is free from the consequences of sin and death. Let me express right off the bat, that I realize what I am saying here is a very controversial view point. But I'm going there anyway. You won't find the words "age of accountability" anywhere in the Bible, but I believe the scriptures speak to the concept. Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the girft of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." All who sin must suffer eternal death separated from God. But because God loves us, He sent His Son Jesus - the gift mentioned above. Jesus was without sin, yet He died for all of us. His death paid the price for our sins. If we believe this and trust our life to Him, Jesus covers that debt of death so that when we pass from this life, we go on to life eternal with God in heaven. Shelby has no way to understand this. She never will. She is the developmental age of 21 months and that has not changed in years. Because of this lack of understanding, Shelby is incapable of sin. When she is doing something wrong, I can tell her "no" and she understands that I mean to stop. But she does not have the comprehension to understand from day to day that the action is wrong. She will try it again. Because of this lack of willful sin, I believe Shelby is closer to God than I will ever be this side of heaven. And I believe scripture backs me up. In Matthew 18:3, Jesus says, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." In Mark 10:14 Jesus says, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." When we trust God to forgive us of our sins, we become pure of heart again - like a child. Shelby is already pure of heart. So I rest assured that she will be with me in heaven one day. I treasure Shelby's innocense and look forward to the day when I will be wholly like her again. If you don't agree with my interpretation of scripture on this, that's ok with me. Just don't tell me about it.
2. When Shelby reaches the pearly gates one day, she will experience the physical freedom that she doesn't have here on this broken planet. She will never have another seizure. She will be able to praise God in songs and full sentences. She will run faster than you and jump higher than you. She won't have to take medicine or wear braces on her ankles. She won't tire easily. Her weak, sick body will be new. A glorified body. Freedom from pain and brokenness. The hope we have in Christ is limitless.
Let freedom ring.