innocence

In front of her was a Man who was offering her a magnificent necklace. On it was the most stunning stone she’d ever seen. When the light caressed it just right, so many colors exploded from the jewel, and it shined radiantly.

“This is for you,” the Man said.

“Me?” she questioned, confused.

“Yes, I bought this and am giving it to you.”

She smiled and shyly began to reach for the chain.

And that was when she noticed how dirty her hands were.

Embarrassed, she withdrew her hands. Her eyes were fixated on the dirt, the blood, the filth that stained them. And then she looked down and realized it covered the rest of her, too. She was so dirty and messy and pathetic-looking.

How could she accept this gorgeous piece of jewelry? How could she ever wear it when she was sullied to this degree? It would look ridiculous.

She dropped her hands and looked apologetically at Him. She needed to decline His gracious gift and remove herself from His presence. Much like the necklace, the Man was also too beautiful, too pure, too clean to be associated with her. She took a step back.

And then it started raining.

She looked up at the sky. Hadn’t it been clear and blue up till a second ago? How was it suddenly raining?

A soft laughter escaped the Man’s lips. She looked at Him then, and He gazed at her like she had gazed at the stone: like she was something rare and precious. He nodded toward her hands. She brought them up in front of her face.

The rain was washing away the muck.

A smile burst across her face. She turned her face to the sky so that it, too, could be washed. She held her arms out to the side and began to spin. Laughter spilled from her lips like a kiss from the sun. She closed her eyes and smiled, reveling in the feel of rain against her skin.

Then she remembered she wasn’t alone.

She stopped twirling in the rain and focused her attention on the Man once more. He stood there, watching her spin, an amused smile decorating His calm face.

“The rain I give you is called ‘Grace.’ I’ve showered you with it and made you clean.” He held the necklace out once more. “This,” He regarded the jewel, “this is called ‘Forgiveness.’ I purchased it for you. It is available to you should you choose to accept it.”

She transfixed her gaze on the gem. Such a beautiful gift, and He was offering it to her.

“I give you forgiveness—wear it on your heart. Your innocence is restored through what I freely extend to you. I have washed you clean and declared you righteous before Me.”

To accept something as precious as forgiveness, as delicate as innocence, was beyond comprehension. It was right in front of her, and He granted it to her as a gift. She knew she didn’t deserve it, but He was giving it to her because He loved her. Her grin stretched so wide across her face, the corners of her lips reached her ears. She nodded her acceptance.

“I also betroth you to Me with this and with your acceptance. I will betroth you to Me forever, in righteousness and justice, lovingkindness and compassion. I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you will know Me” (Hosea 2:19-20).

I have been given a gift I could never afford to buy, a jewel I could never earn with all my days’ wages. He has bestowed to me new innocence, and I have become His beloved.

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