For his entire life, Jean Valjean ran. From his past, from guilt, shame, and from his accuser, Javert. Javert - who preferred to address Valjean by his prison-issued convict #24601 - made it his life's purpose to never let Valjean forget the past, the guilt, the shame and the law he broke. And in a terrible struggle with himself, Valjean faced his darkest fears by remembering who he was and where his strength came from. He goes to court to free an innocent man by revealing that he himself is the one the law pursues. He admits his guilt. He stops running. (Enter genuine freedom.)
Who am I? Can I condemn this man to slavery Pretend I do not feel his agony This innocent who bears my face Who goes to judgement in my place Who am I? How can I ever face my fellow men? How can I ever face myself again? My soul belongs to God, I know I made that bargain long ago He gave me hope when hope was gone He gave me strength to journey on Who am I? Who am I? I am Jean Valjean!
Chills just typing that. Jean Valjean defined himself by the One his soul belonged to; not by staying silent or claiming innocence. Freedom happens for us when grace happens to us; when we face the fact that we are nothing unless we accept Jesus and admit our sin. And His extended grace is what makes life possible. It's how we forgive others, love others, pursue life, and yes, it even defines our pursuit of health. You are not defined by your fitness or your illness. But rather, your health is worth the effort, your modesty is worth the privacy, your illness is worth the pain, and your struggles are worth the agony, because God says who you are; His. So stop running. Turn, face your accuser and answer the question. Jimmy Peña
Have a good Tuesday. Be blessed.