In Christ Alone

by Sandy Gagliardi

"It was clear where I should join God at work in the months before my husband George went to heaven. The days and nights of giving comfort and care came with sacrifices given freely (and cheerfully, most of the time). His passing was an abrupt cessation of my caregiving. I moved into the new role of wounded survivor and was placed under “intensive care” by loved ones.

Many of you reading this have been part of the care given during my new season of receiving. I’m so grateful for your effective prayers, gifts, practical help, encouraging notes, calls and visits. Your thoughtful actions provided time for me to grieve and reflect.

In real life and in real time, God began to reveal more of Himself in an area that I’ve wrestled with for years. I can describe it best by my reaction to some of the lyrics of “In Christ Alone”. I have to croak out the part that says, “For I am His and He is mine” because my throat always closes with emotion.

Being His or presenting myself as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) seems reasonable and necessary. But then “He is mine”? How can it be? And yet, that is the heart of the Gospel. It’s splendidly described in Revelation 19 as the Bridegroom (Christ) celebrates His marriage to His betrothed (Believers). In my new season, this imagery creates deeper meaning and intimacy with my Beloved.

A message Charlie taught awhile back described the Passover supper and how the Israelites were commanded to completely consume the sacrificial lamb. In the same way, we are to receive Jesus fully into our lives. He is mine…Savior, Redeemer, Healer, Friend, Bridegroom, my all in all, but I must receive Him fully.

And it’s clear that it pleases Him to provide more of Himself through the fellowship of Believers. He intentionally places limitations in our life so that we need one another. Galatians 6:2 describes it as carrying one another’s burdens. It’s the heavy lifting and sacrificial service we extend to someone in need that allows Love to come into their life to restore and heal.

This season of receiving has made me examine other dark and broken parts of my life that feel underserving of His love. Would I dare to invite others to shoulder these burdens with me, too, and allow Light into those dark places? I believe that is what He intends, so that I can sing victoriously that “I am His, and He is mine”! -Sandy G.