Redemption. Satisfaction. Joy. Contentment. “It is finished.” I know these all go together because I have experienced them this week.
I have had the pleasure lately of redeeming two of my possessions which were, by all appearances to me, ruined. The first was my sewing machine. During one use the thread had jammed unceasingly leaving me an unfinished table cloth. I knew I couldn’t budget a sewing machine repair and the thought of hand-hemming the remaining two sides of my tablecloth left my hand throbbing. The other item I despaired over was a pair of shorts that had acquired a dime-sized thick dark stain on its backside. That was last summer, when they were new. I never could remove that stain, but neither had I the gumption to throw the shorts out. It seemed such a waste to my tightwad mind.
Some people probably would have laughed at these surmountable issues. Smarter ones would have figured out solutions sooner, for those solutions turned out to be rather simple (don’t we all panic too easily over the silliest things?). But I stuck my sewing machine in the closet and my shorts with my other summer clothes into storage.
When my shorts came out of storage this spring I was again reminded of my delimma, and I tossed them aside into the corner of my room. Finally resolved to throw them away as a lost cause, I gave it one last shot. There was only one thing left to try: baking soda. I didn’t expect results, but I stuck the shorts in a Tupperware container, poured a little water over them, and liberally applied baking soda on the stain. I returned several times that day to apply more water and rub the baking soda in. Imagine my delight when my finger rubbed the stain spot but didn’t feel the thickness. Even after rinsing my shorts I feared that better light would reveal a faint residue. But it didn’t. My shorts had been redeemed by that magical white substance that works hard, whether in chocolate chip cookies, a greasy microwave, or on laundry.
As for the sewing machine, I realized upon setting it up the next time that I simply had not pulled the lower thread up correctly. I am such an amateur. The tentative pressure of my foot upon the pedal revealed that the problem was indeed fixed. Joy! “It is finished!” What makes redemption so satisfying is that it returns things to their created intention. Brokenness. Weakness. Pain. These were not God’s intentions for the world, but everything from people to shorts are experiencing the effects of sin.
The greater the assumption that something is lost, the greater the joy upon finding it. Human kind is certainly lost. I suppose that is an arguable statement for some, but the truth is as plain as the sin of the man next door neighbor. We are angry, self-seeking, jealous, competitive people, smiling with all the sweetness of baby bunnies, but stinging with the power of a hornet. At least I speak for myself.
Redemption is not a modern concept. The Trinitarian tongue has uttered its truth since Adam and Eve were ushered east of Eden. It held prominence in the Old Covenant, represented by the blood of the sacrifices, but it was merely a seed waiting to flower at just the right moment along the timeline of the world. And it did.
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.”
In darkest darkness, the flower opened and redemption bloomed full. It’s the secret reality, to be spotlighted at the end of salvation history when the sons of man are brought to glory. But it’s available now and our joy at redeeming our precious, albeit oft unimportant, items bears witness to its reality.
Have you redeemed something lately? Maybe something of yours is in need of redemption. Perhaps you are in need of redemption.