The movie was filmed in Utah. Beautiful place, indeed. But who would have ever thought that this cheesy melodrama with awkward dialogue and worse special effects than “Little House on the Prairie” could strike such a powerful chord in my heart. I just watched this flick with my three older children.
What is the sin-eater’s name?
His name is Jesus.”
My heart ran, soared, and sang with Cadi and the little angel, Lillybet, along that Appalachian mountain ridge, knowing the personal experience of the complete forgiveness of sins, past, present, future – every dark stain on my soul removed forever!
As a youngster, I remember the deep anguish. How was I to pay for the actions, words, and the iniquitous thoughts that plagued my mind? I saw God in all glory contrasted to my heartless seeking of personal glory. For I knew . . . I sought personal gratification. I reveled in self-pleasure. I desired and took at the expense of others. I enjoyed seeing others suffer who hurt me. I pouted. I sat in depression when angry at my own limitations and loss. I lashed out. I hid from wisdom. I would be postured wrongly, stubbornly for hours, days on end. I had a high opinion of my self. I sought praise. I sought glory that belonged to Jesus Christ alone.
In a nutshell, the puritan Owen pegged my heart . . . “unintelligent, unfaithful, unnatural, unappeasable, and unmerciful.”
Frankly, I strain over how to properly express my own past undoing and unhappiness. Raw. Gnawing. It makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about it.
I thought others had done worse than me. I was the church boy. Others even praised me for being such a good boy. Pride filled me. But I also knew what others didn’t know. I was the outward angel but the inward rebel. I truly knew my own heart. I knew the scriptures said I was worthy of the pain of Hades. And it rankled me.
How could I have been so senseless in seeking that which belongs to the Savior alone? I couldn’t muster up perfect love, perfect obedience, perfect faith, perfect holiness. Who I was kidding? I walked enslaved to the prince of the power of the air. But I didn’t want to believe it. Not me . . . stubbornly entrenched Todd Wood. Yet my continual self attempts at trying to meet my personal best rather than being obedient in faith to the gospel insulted both the all sufficient work of the Son and the matchless love of His God. I deserved hell.
But Jesus conquered me in my miserable bravado.
Surrender to God is victory, and to be defeated of Christ is to triumph indeed.”
It is to the Triune God and the everlasting gospel that I owe all.