I’m not sure I fully understood redemption until now. I know God redeemed us, purchased us with His blood to wipe away our sins. I know redemption comes in the form of paying for one thing with something else, such as Jesus Christ purchasing my life with His sacrifice on the cross. This redemption is a gift beyond any we could ever comprehend.
But there’s another redemption in God’s plan for those of us who love Him. It’s the redemption of the pain in this world, the blessings that come to those of us who love Him to repay us for our trouble and our pain. It’s the fulfillment of His promise that all things work for good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28). It’s the redemption of our past hurts, our past pains.
And that’s the heart of our good God, the One who loves us and redeems the hurts and pains of this life.
Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope! I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles. Zechariah 9:12
I am certain I could walk through scripture and find many examples of how God blesses His children with good gifts after they’ve walked through unbelievable trials. He promises beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3), new mercies each morning (Lamentations 3:22). We know weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5).
So the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. Job 42:12a
Promises of redemption. Promises of repayment for the pains we experience. Promises of renewed life, renewed joy when the trials of this life are over.
As we enter the Thanksgiving season this year, I find my heart overflowing, overwhelmed with gratitude for the good gifts of my Father. I have found the joy of redemption for many years of pain. I wake up each morning reminded of His grace, His mercies in my life.
And I am more than thankful for the gift of redemption.
Ten years ago, I found myself walking through the most painful season of my life, a season marred by adultery and divorce. I struggled to find God, to hold onto my faith, in those dark and painful days. I almost lost my faith, threw it all away as I doubted how a God who could allow such pain into my life could truly be good.
This journey has been one of twists and turns, ups and downs, like a never-ending roller coaster that throws me for the most unexpected loops. Yet through it all I’ve found the one constant has been the faithfulness of my Father, the One who has been by my side every step of the way, the One who has changed me along the journey and given me a new life. He’s the One who has brought joy in the morning.
And this year? This year He brought complete redemption, a kinsman-redeemer who has stepped in and become that final puzzle piece. He’s the man who has chosen to love a middle-aged woman and her kids, the one who has promised to love us all through better or worse. He’s the one who has chosen to take me by the hand and walk with me through the rest of this life, to seek the Father’s face with me as we strive to make Him the center of our family.
Can I be honest? This redemption looks nothing like what I had imagined. But, it’s such an amazing journey, one for which I will be eternally grateful. Here’s what I’ve learned about God’s redemption.
God’s redemption is unexpected. For years, I prayed and waited, waited and prayed. I was firmly convinced so many times that I was right on the edge of the Promised Land, that His redemption was just beyond the walls of Jericho. I watched as walls fell and I waited to possess the long-awaited promise.
And yet, it didn’t happen.
Last year, I quit. Through the course of yet another unexpected trial, I just knew circumstances were not appropriate for me to look toward a future, a relationship. And it was in that most inopportune time that God showed up, brought along an unexpected relationship that blossomed and grew.
At the most unexpected time, God showed up.
God’s redemption is better than we imagined. Do you ever imagine how the fulfillment of God’s promise will look? Maybe you are looking for a relationship. Or a ministry. Or some other answered prayer.
I can assure you it probably will not look anything like you imagined. Instead, it will be far better, far bigger, far more beautiful. Just hold tight to Him and let it unfold as only He can.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20
God’s redemption is perfectly timed. As I said before, I thought the timing for a relationship was completely inappropriate. My ex-husband had just passed away, and I knew my kids needed me to help guide them through their most intense grief.
Yet, a man in my life was exactly what my kids needed in their grief. They needed a man who wasn’t afraid to love them as a father should, who was willing to embrace them in their grief and be a father-figure in the absence of an earthly father. He was there to help carry their pain, to go above and beyond to help honor their father.
What I saw as the most inappropriate time I now realize was the perfect time. And God in His sovereignty knew what we needed when we needed it.
God’s redemption is beautiful even when it is hard. These early months of marriagehave not been easy. We are facing trials we didn’t expect, difficult decisions with no easy answers. We are learning to adjust to our differences and honor one another. We are learning what it means to love in our imperfections. We are still learning to overcome some of the baggage we carry from our past scars. And all of the things that were hidden before marriage suddenly are brought into the light when you live with one another.
Marriage isn’t easy. Remarriage and blending two families is even harder. Trying to make marriage a priority in an instant family of seven is not for the faint of heart. It will take courage, dedication, and a huge dose of the Holy Spirit and His grace and mercy and love.
In the midst of the chaos and the struggles, I wake up to the loving embrace of God’s gift to me and I am reminded anew of His mercies. In the tender hugs, I find myself grateful for a new season, a new journey, a new opportunity to grow and become more like Him. In the kindnesses he shows me, I am reminded of the goodness of my heavenly Father who provides for all our needs.
Maybe you haven’t yet received your full redemption. Don’t give up! Cling to the Father, the good, good Father who knows what you need and when you need it. Trust His heart as He works through circumstances to prepare the beautiful future He has planned for you.
And in this season of thanksgiving, remember to have a grateful heart for redemption. It will come. Trust Him.
Dena Johnson Martin is a recently-remarried mom of three amazing kids. Her greatest desire is to use her darkest days—days marred by adultery and divorce—to encourage others to find the joy of a life restored by Jesus Christ.
Dena is the founder of Dena Johnson Ministries, a non-profit organization with a mission of bringing hope to lives broken by the pain of this world, and the author of Picking Up the Pieces: Rebuilding Your Life After the Storms of Adultery and Divorce.
In her spare time, Dena works as a Registered Nurse and is a regular contributor at Crosswalk.com. If you would like to contact Dena, please feel free to interact with her on her blog Dena Johnson Ministries or email her at Dena@denajohnson.com.