Reeba James

My entire story could be wrapped up in two words:

redeeming love.

But I need to use around six hundred, so here goes. I had the incredible privilege of being born to Christian parents. I came to an understanding of the gospel at a young age, but really, it has been a 23-year journey of continuing to learn exactly what that means. My freshman year of high school, I ended up extremely sick, to the point where my body simply gave up. I vaguely remember the following two weeks. I can recall bits and pieces the way you would remember a dream. The Lord saw me through that. Even more so, He comforted my family during the time. My mom always tells the story of when she was desperately looking through God’s word for some comfort about her unconscious, hospitalized daughter and she landed on the following verses:

Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.

Hosea 6:1-2

Now yes, this passage is talking about the Israelites in a specific context. But at that moment, my mom took this as a promise that I would be okay – she texted her friend saying that I would be okay within the next three days. Two days later, I finally started talking again.

And on the third day — well, I effectively came back to reality.

I knew where I was; I knew why I was there. Left was left and right was right again. In my moments of doubt over the next couple of years, I always came back to this story. Thousands of years ago, as the Lord inspired Hosea to write these words, He thought of my mom; He thought of me. He has been working out my life story since long before I was even a thought on this earth.

And why was I revived? To live before Him. My junior year of high school, I was asked a question at a retreat, “Does the cross really mean as much to you as you think it does?” I like to say this question punched me in the face. Well, because it did. I had to consider if I had gotten comfortable with my Christianity. It was my get out of eternal punishment card. The urgency of the gospel had been overrun by the banality of life. What did the cross really represent? A God who became man and then took on the wrath of God for me. He took the punishment for my sins so that I could enjoy eternity with my God.  I believed it, sure; I would even say it was the most important thing in my life. However, if I really believed it, why wasn’t I sharing the gospel with everybody? Every person needed to know of that hope — that redeeming love. Of how Christ took a broken person and continues to love me. I don’t deserve it; I certainly can’t earn it. And yet His love redeems me and all my brokenness.

That retreat was the start of the gospel being more active in my life. It wasn’t overnight and it certainly isn’t over.

It is a daily call to surrender, to choose Christ, to be reminded that He is indeed worth it all.

Over time I have been able to see how He truly takes every part of my personality and circumstances, even the parts I don’t like, to make me more like Christ and ultimately, for His glory. Life is generally an uphill hike, so I guess it’s a good thing I love to hike. And along each part of the hike, I simply seek to know Him more and make Him known.