I grew up in a Christian home, was saved at age five at a Psalty concert, had loving Christian parents who served in church, raised us to know Jesus personally and modeled the Christian walk every day. I am blessed and I do not take that for granted in the slightest. One thing that has come up a lot in my personal walk with the Lord is almost a disconnect of the things I know of God and the things I have experienced with God. A life before Christ is something I’ve never known. Sometimes I would almost get jealous of people when I listened to their testimonies of their journey to finding the Lord and how He radically changed their lives. I hated giving my testimony growing up because I felt like it was so boring. “I gave my life to Jesus at a young age and although I’ve had doubts and little hiccups along the way, I’ve never not loved and believed in Him.” I look back now and realize how gracious and loving the Lord was in protecting my heart, mind, and body from things most people go through before knowing Jesus.
Several months ago, I found myself in a place of brokenness; feeling angry, confused, hopeless, and just not good enough. I was empty. Drained. Defeated. I cried over everything. Making eggs? Cried. Running errands? Cried. Go to church? Cried. No matter what I did, I just cried. It was kind of pathetic, but it was my reality. I knew God was trying to stretch me, prune me, teach me something, but I didn’t want to go through it. I felt like I didn’t deserve the pain. It ties back to my previous thought about knowing the things of God versus experiencing things with God. It’s easy for me to know the right answer, but not so easy to have to endure it. My husband, in his wisdom, could see God working and moving and was always so gentle in his approach with me, and I wanted nothing of it. Nothing.
Fast forward several months, and I was still struggling with the “whys” and found I had put up a wall with my family, my friends, even my husband, but mainly with Jesus. I was desperate for the Lord to give me insight but standoffish enough from Him to not want to really dig deep to deal with the answer. What if I didn’t like His answer? The very next day I went to Bible study and every single word spoken felt like it was spoken directly to my soul, answering every single question I had just the day before. Silent tears dripped down my face, knowing that God in His loving and infinite ways was not going to leave me in my state of stubbornness. Even if I didn’t want to hear from Him, He was going to speak directly to my heart without there being any question it was from Him.
You see, I’ve always known Jesus; He’s always been good to me. No matter what season I am in, He provides, directs, answers, corrects, encourages, and grows me. I didn’t understand how people could so easily walk away from their faith. But that morning, I realized how quickly and easily I turned my back on the Lord, because I was hurt and felt like I was owed something. The second something didn’t go my way, it was His fault. How could He allow this in my life? Didn’t He love me? Didn’t He see all the things I was doing for Him? All the sacrifices my family makes? I was no different than all the people who walked away. Man, I had it so incredibly wrong. Since when did Jesus owe me anything? When did this Christian walk turn into anything but serving and knowing Jesus wholeheartedly? It has NOTHING to do with me, but Christ perfecting me, and allowing me to be used. Somehow along the way, I replaced knowing God intimately with serving Him. I had allowed the things I did for Him to become a list of things I deserved, subconsciously, but nonetheless expected. The Lord didn’t leave me. He didn’t wrong me. He was always there and He always showed up, no matter the circumstance. The Bible has so much to say on trials and tribulations. Here are just a few examples:
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation;” John 16:33
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” James 1:2-3
Brokenness produces pain. Undoubtedly, lots of pain. Pain also leaves you feeling weak. Funny enough, back around the same time this all started, I got a tattoo on my forearm with the words, “His grace is sufficient for me.” At the time, it had so much meaning in the area of motherhood in my life, which is why I initially got it. Little did I know those words would take on a whole new meaning for me in the months to follow.
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
His strength is made PERFECT in my weakness. Do I want it this way? No. Do I like it this way? Absolutely not. But if this is what it takes for me to get to the place of absolute and complete surrender to His will in my life, then I say, “Thy will be done.” I don’t know what it is that you are facing today, but maybe it seems like God has forgotten you or abandoned you, or that this day to day walk with Him is not worth all the pain and suffering. But oh, dear friend, eternity in heaven with Jesus, far outweighs anything horrible in this life. Keep going, keep pressing, keep digging, He is doing a work because He loves you. He is faithful. He will never leave you, nor forsake you.
-How do I react when things don’t go my way? Who do I blame?
-Have I been going through the motions of serving God, but not really spending time to know Him intimately?
-How has God been faithful in my life?