Becca stared down at her closed fist, pondering the words that Abby had spoken to her just a short time ago. Slowly, she turned her hand, opening it to reveal the object her friend had handed her as they had talked. Such a simple item, really, but how complex it had turned out to be.
It had been less than an hour since Becca had shown up on Abby’s doorstep, her eyes puffy from crying. She had practically collapsed in a heap on Abby’s sofa and fresh tears had begun to fall anew. Abby held her friend in her arms until the crying had stopped and then encouraged her to share her pain.
“Beck,” Abby said softly, “whatever it is, let me help you.”
“Oh, Abby,” Becca began, “I’ve made such a mess of things. I thought that when I became a Christian I would quit messing up so much. But it just seems so much harder now. I feel like such a failure. I feel like I just keep letting God down and He can’t possibly still love me, considering how I still fail Him so miserably.”
“What makes you think you’re letting Him down, Becca?” Abby asked her friend.
“I just feel like I’m not the person He wants me to be. I don’t think God much likes who I am.”
Abby rose from the sofa, walked over to her desk and picked up a small box from the desktop. As she found her place beside Becca, she reached into the box and held something in her hand. It was a rough, jagged piece of coal, about the size of a golf ball. Abby handed the coal to Becca.
“Becca, before you became a Christian, your life was like that piece of coal - dark, ragged, rough. That piece of coal represents the sin that permeated your life before you knew Christ as your Savior.”
Becca looked at the object in her hand and nodded, listening intently.
Abby reached into the box and withdrew another item. This was a beautiful clear stone, smaller than the coal, but dazzlingly brilliant as the light caught each facet. Abby laid it in her own palm and watched Becca’s eyes light up as she gazed into its beauty.
“This piece represents a perfect diamond. Clear, reflective, brilliant – beautiful. Here, Becca, take it,” Abby encouraged her as she extended her palm.
As Becca reached for the beautiful stone, Abby suddenly closed her fist around it and drew it near to her. “First,” Abby said, “you must give me the coal before I can give you the diamond.”
“Wow, that’s a good deal on my part,” Becca exclaimed as she exchanged the dirty piece of coal for the sparkling stone.
“Exactly,” replied Abby. “And Becca, that is exactly what happened to that dark, rough and ragged mass of sin within you the moment you repented of your sins and accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior. At that very moment, His life – the beautiful diamond – was exchanged for that chunk of coal. It was a gift with no strings attached.”
“But Abby, if that’s true then why do I feel like such a failure in my Christian walk?” Becca asked. “Why do I still act the way I do?”
“We all fail, Becca. We all say and do things that we know are wrong. But that’s why God gave us His Son and offered us His gift of forgiveness and eternal life. God’s love for us isn’t based on who we are, but rather on Whose we are. Romans 4:16 says, “This is why the fulfillment of God's promise depends entirely on trusting God and His way, and then simply embracing Him and what He does. God's promise arrives as a pure gift. That's the only way everyone can be sure to get in on it.” Remember, Becca, God doesn’t see that old chunk of coal inside you anymore, He only sees that beautiful, sparkling diamond – the reflection of His Son.”
“And He still loves me, even when I fail?” Becca asked.
“Absolutely,” Abby replied with a smile, “and a diamond can never become a chunk of coal again.”
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