Just As I Am—Period! …Hello Hump Day readers! As I write this, we have sunshine, light winds, and beautiful cirrus clouds with a background of cerulean blue. O Lord, how can you do this—thanks for such beauty! And this brings me to my devotion today. Why? Well, read on!

Sometimes we feel we have to get all ‘dolled-up’ to go to church, or to a restaurant, a friend’s home, party, etc., thinking they will like us more or we would be more welcomed, or maybe we would be invited into their social circle!

On June 9th I stepped in for a pastor of the local Methodist Church. The day before, I had some campers that were looking for a protestant church to go to. I told them they would be welcomed at Valley View Methodist. They said, “Oh, you don’t have services here?” On the Army Corp I am a chaplain for those who need one, but we don’t have church services. “We don’t have any decent clothes to go to a church” they said. I told them this church would accept you with pajamas on—they laughed and yes, they did come and they loved it. After this conversation the song Just As I Am by Charlotte Elliott, popped up in my head and has kept there for days; I’m still singing it! So I thought I would tell you some history about it.

Charlotte Elliott became one of the most beloved and widely recognized hymn writers not only in her day but today as well. This hymn was written in 1835, simple and straight-forward about the promises of hope, acceptance, and salvation in Jesus Christ. When Billy Graham was alive, this call to people to come to Christ was unbelievable. When I went to a crusade that song brought me out of my seat and down to the front for a blessing. I will never forget it—a powerful boost for my faith. When used for a communion song, my soul just soars.

Charlotte’s upbringing was in a Christian home, surrounded by a family deeply committed to their faith. At a young age she gained fame as a poet with incredible literary talents and a quick-wit and humor. Despite all this talent, she struggled with feelings of uselessness and depression—particularly after a serious illness left her disabled at the age of 32. It was during this time of inner turmoil that she encountered Swiss minister and hymnologist César Malan. His gentle encouragement told her to “come to Christ just as you are” and this struck a chord with her and it didn’t take long for the inspiration to write the hymn.

Just As I Am is not only known for its powerful lyrics but also for its memorable and moving melody which was composed by William Bradbury, a prolific composer and publisher of sacred music in the 19th century. He, too, grew up in a family of faith and also a musical family. He turned out many sacred music for hymns—more than 900! A favorite of his is Jesus Love Me.

As I thought about this devotion I was writing, I decided to dive into ‘what it means to come just as I am. There is a lot of secular ideas about it, but the one that we need to embrace is “just as I am” which signifies that we can come to Christ exactly as we are—even in our pajamas! No matter our doubts, imperfections and struggles, Jesus tells us we don’t need to first clean ourselves up before we come to Him. Instead, He says just come just as you are. It is a powerful reminder of God’s unconditional love and grace, and an invitation to accept His mercy and forgiveness, not based on our own merits, but on the finished work of Jesus on the cross. There is no other gift better than this so just come to Him!

In John 6:37 [Voice], Jesus says: “All that My Father gives to Me comes to Me. I will receive everyone; I will not send away anyone who comes to Me.”

In closing, think of the time you decided that your faith in Jesus was the most important thing in your life. What did it mean to you then and what does it mean to you now? Like Charlotte Elliott, we can have devastating health, and many trials that can burden our lives to the point we wonder what our faith really means. When that happens, please remind yourself of whose you are—God’s beloved child—and then stand up tall, and say, “Jesus, I need you, I come to you just as I am, help me my Savior and Lord.”  AMEN!