A Piece of Paper, a Nail and The Power of the Cross
By Janis Desjardins
At the front of the church stood a simple wooden cross. Two pieces of timber in place of the pulpit. To give some background, God had reminded me of the dedication ceremony of my daughter at birth. I felt the heaviness of not carrying out the responsibility parents have with dedicating children to God. We are responsible for the physical and spiritual upbringing of our children. I had left the church shortly after when my life became a whirlwind of sad events and began living in a cloud of rejection. Now several years later, the Lord reminded me. He's been waiting all along for me to come back to Him. After all, I dedicated my daughter to Him not to man. I could have blamed her father for not taking any interest in our daughter's spiritual upbringing too but the Lord was speaking directly to me. Thus began my trek to find a church.
The next Sunday, my young daughter and I found a small quaint old church in our area so we thought we'd go there. The church was locked and closed down. We didn't have time to get to another church on time. Disappointed we went home. The next Sunday, we tried a second time. This time we went to a large church, surely this would be open. Nobody greeted us and when I stopped a man who was rushing by, I asked him if he belongs to this church and he said yes. Then I asked where the Sunday School was. He said he didn't know and ran off. I seemed to be invisible to everyone. Choking back tears, I grabbed my daughter's hand and left. I was puzzled why the Lord told me to go back to church and nothing work out. The next Sunday, I tried one more time. "We'll go to the church on a hill" I told my daughter. Not that higher ground was closer to the Lord but with what I had experienced, I thought this can't be worse. Who knew? The third time we finally found our church home. We were very much received, and the pastor and his wife invited us to dinner at their home.
Referring back to the first line, I was in my new church and going to my first Easter service in several years. At the front of the church stood a simple wooden cross. Two pieces of timber in place of the pulpit. I had no idea what was about to happen as we were all given a piece of paper and a nail and told to write our names on the paper. The pastor began his Easter sermon leading into the meaning of the piece of paper and a nail.
"who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness--by whose stripes you were healed." (1Peter 2:24)
We were invited up to the front to the cross where we would nail our names to the cross. A long line-up followed. When it was my turn and as I picked up the hammer, I was moved to tears as I nailed my name to the cross. This was the first time I really understood what Christ did for me, for us who believe. Truly this is the power of the cross.
"that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death." (Philippians 3:10)
After in the foyer, my daughter was so moved, she asked to be baptized, she was only 8 years old. The pastor said dedication is for children under 13 and baptism is at 13. I said my daughter was already dedicated at birth. The pastor asked her "Why do you want to be baptized?". Without hesitation she said because God told her to. The pastor was so moved, he said "Well, who am I to argue that?" God was talking to my daughter too. The seed was planted. Thank you Jesus! In retrospect He was preparing my daughter for what she would have to face in her future. Because the seed was planted, she would never depart from it.
"Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)
Sometime after this, I invited my friend to church one Easter. He as well, was so moved to tears as he nailed his name to the cross. He gave his life to Christ that day. Truly this is the power of the cross.
During the following ten years, each of our paths took different twists and turns but God never fails. We must trust in His perfect plan and a purpose for us. My friend and I eventually married and we are eternally grateful for
The Power of the Cross.