Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Disappearing Sin-Paper


After the devastating Chicago fires of 1871, Horatio Spafford intended to take his family to France to visit with his good friend, Dwight L. Moody. Spafford was a prominent attorney whose business detained him, but he sent his wife and four daughters ahead, planning to join them in a few weeks. 

His wife, Anna, and their four daughters sailed on the Ville du Havre. On Nov 22, 1873, the ship collided with an iron sailing vessel. It sank within minutes of the collision. Mrs. Spafford was later found floating on debris, unconscious but still alive. All four daughters died in the shipwreck. After she was rescued and carried to Wales, Mrs. Spafford sent a telegram to her husband that read, "Saved alone." 

When Mr. Spafford sailed to meet his wife, he crossed over the place where the ship had gone down and his daughters had died. He returned to his cabin and wrote the words to the beloved hymn, "It Is Well With My Soul."

They had three more children after the shipwreck. A few years later, the Spaffords moved to Jerusalem where they spent the rest of their lives doing charitable work with all who were in need. 

The beautiful house, pictured above, was the home of one of Spafford's daughters. It's served a variety of functions over the year, from student dormitory to consulate, but the property now serves as the Jerusalem Prayer House. We visited there yesterday. 

The Prayer Center is upstairs. It's an interactive area that's experienced in silence. There's an area for meditation, an area for confession, and an area for intercession, as well as an area for journalling. 

The confession area was my favorite. Kneeling pillows were stacked against the wall. A large porcelain bowl of water sat on a table, two long bamboo chopsticks resting across the edge. A pen and a stack of narrow paper slips sat on the adjacent table. 

After I'd spent time on my knees in confession, I wrote my sin on one of the slips of paper, dropped it in the water, and stirred with the chopsticks. I watched as it slowly dissolved and disappeared. Within a few seconds, there was no evidence of the sin-paper. 

Tears trickled down my cheeks as I looked at the clear water and pondered the enormity of verses I'd learned as a child:

~ Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow... (Isaiah 1:18)
~ Removed as far as the East is from the West... (Psalm 103:12) 
~ I will remember them no more... (Hebrews 8:12)

Just as the sin-paper disappeared, so our sins "disappear" when we're forgiven. Washed white, removed, forgotten. 

Ponder the miracle of forgiveness for a moment...

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

If we're willing to confess our sin to God, He is willing to do more than forgive them. He's willing to remove them completely. 

Today, let's release the sin-load we carry and give it to the One who came remove it entirely. 

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
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In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: It Still Starts with Love
#forgiveness