The Empty Suitcase

by Dawn Aldrich

 Sharing stories gives voice to the silent ones locked deep within another soul. When we step aside and let the Holy Spirit use our words to unlock those stories, we bring God’s encouragement, healing, vision, and transformation that can change a life, a family, a community, the world. 

My friend, Lynne, has a story to tell: 

Somehow I did not expect God to touch my heart so deeply “at just another Easter service,” but  he did.

When Pastor Wes spoke of the empty tomb, I expected to hear that old familiar story. But, God surprised me. Oh, the story never changes, but my perspective transformed on Easter Sunday. In the reading of Jesus’ resurrection story, Pastor Wes pointed out that the stone was rolled away to let us see Jesus was gone, but also to let us in to see the real miracle.  Yes, Jesus’ body was gone (raised from the dead) leaving the tomb obviously empty, but continuing, he reminded us that all sin was gone.  Sin did not hold Jesus in the grave.  Halleluiah!  And because of His sacrifice all of our sins are not only forgiven, but gone.  The tomb is open.  All sin is gone.

I know you are asking…so what does this have to do with the title, The Empty Suitcase?  Well, I realized that I have been carrying around a suitcase packed full of my sins.  Over the years it has gotten heavier and heavier and heavier.

baggage

Oh, certainly I have sought and received God’s forgiveness, but then I repacked my suitcase with those same sins; all covered by the blood of Jesus and ready for my trip to heaven.   I thought they were all secure in the suitcase, but it was as if they were seeping out to remind me of my failures.  Making me feel unworthy of God’s love or anyone’s acceptance.

Then God said, “Open up the suitcase, Lynne.”  And in my mind I did just that and guess what I found? It was empty!

suitcase

The true reality of forgiven sin took my breath away.  My sins are gone.  No more.  So why do I allow them to tear me apart with guilt and shame?  After pondering this revelation, I closed that suitcase and kicked it to the cellar.  I have no use for it anymore.  Once forgiven, my sin and yours disappears – gone.  Will I remember my sins?  Oh yes, but rather than feeling guilt and shame,  my heart is filled with love and thanksgiving to my Lord Jesus Christ for his great grace and sacrifice.

I hope you are not carrying around a heavy, sin-packed,  seeping suitcase.  I pray that you know the fullness of forgiven sin and the reality of the empty tomb {and an empty suitcase}.

Blessings,

Lynne

About Lynne Bowen: Lynne is a generous friend, devoted mother, grandmother and  follower of Christ living in New England. She loves teaching young and old alike about God’s saving graces. She enjoys playing piano and solving jigsaw puzzles.

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