So you made a decision for Christ—good for you! But I have always been a bit hesitant in saying that “I” found Him. That sort of indicates He is just standing around whistling, looking off in the distance and I am doing all the work, frantically searching for Him and, voila...I find Him!
It’s more the other way around. God knew you before your bones were formed. He had a plan in mind before you ever came into the world “mewling and puking” (quote from Shakespeare). He had you born at a certain time, at a certain place, to certain parents. (Yes, even the bad ones!) He has been arranging people, places and things all around you your whole life. He is over there jumping up and down and calling out to you; swinging His arms around, setting off fireworks ... yeah, right—YOU found Him!
This love of God for us is so powerful, so overwhelming, and so unbelievable. We were separated from Him at our birth by what Adam did. God knows we are handicapped in the spiritual realm and that is why, even though He knew Adam would fail, He set in motion the way and plan of escape and restoration...right from the beginning! He offers restoration back to Him through His Son, Jesus. That is, God took the “separate from Him” sentence that we got at our birth and let Jesus take the “capital punishment” for that “crime” for us. But it is not automatic; it is a gift you must accept. Because, in the accepting, you admit that you are not God, you admit that there is a high possibility that you are dead wrong, and you admit that you are in need of help and repair. Humbly coming before God (in sorrow for the error of your ways) to accept His gift is considered love and worship in God’s eyes. And He responds with forgiveness, thus restoring you back to His family. He joyfully puts you back on the “list”...that is, your name is written in what He refers to as “the Lamb’s Book of Life”. But His love is so great that He also gives you the gift of “decision”, even if you decide against Him.
Now, all of that sounds like a fairy tale to many people. But that is because they look at it from only a human perspective. They ask how could a loving God allow a baby to be born into the home of abusive parents; how can He allow wars and destruction and disasters to continue ad infinitum on this planet? Well, did you ever think that you are asking the wrong questions? How about, why did God even allow man to continue to live? You don’t even get out of the book of Genesis without hearing of murder, incest, homosexuality, lies, corruption, bribery, idolatry, factions, wars, etc. Nice picture!
He has “allowed” all of those things, though, because He has a PLAN! And that plan is greater than just what we know or what we have been exposed to, and that is hard for us to swallow. Think outside the box! Just think of the abused child who grows up and starts a program that rescues other abused children. Just think of the drug addict who, once sober, becomes “addicted” to real life and goes back to school and becomes a scientist who discovers the cure for cancer. Or the single mom who raises a kid through devastating loss and deprivation and sees that child become President of the United States. God allows many tough things to happen because many people are changed in a good way by them. Many people call out to Him in those times...and sadly, many curse Him too...but it’s their choice.
On top of it all, God knows that this earthly life is not all there is. This life, though long and often tortuous, is only an eye blink in comparison to eternity! Through great suffering, as well as great blessings, comes great triumph. So, this “plan” is really a controlled effort on God’s part to save each and every one of us, IF we let Him. For He doesn’t want that any man should perish. He weaves together pain and power, sadness and success, tragedy and triumph, death and life to make the tapestry of our lives. What we weave, apart from Him, is an ugly, ripped, torn, mismatched, disconnected, ragged batch of cloth. What He weaves is the beautiful garment of glory...to be worn both here and with Him in eternity.
God made man lower than the angels, but higher than the animals...that unique “mid-place” in all of creation. That is because He has a special plan for the entire world and each one of us – a plan which we often don’t understand. Sort of like, why in the world did your parents (if you had good ones) make you go to school, or eat your vegetables, or take a bath, or be required to forgive a sibling for each infraction against you? All sorts of things that, to us, looked stupid, old fashioned and not how you would do it! You, who at age 14, were the sage of the universe! As adults, you look back and can see the wisdom of integrity, sexual purity, sobriety, and service before self, with excellence in all you do. Those things aren’t “laws” to obey, but a way to live your life that will bring more positive than negative results. That’s all God is doing...giving us a better way.
The problem is the nature you were born with is unable to do what God says. That is the handicap. That is why God is not angry with you; He knows you are handicapped in that way. He is willing to go to great lengths for you to come to Him (to “find” Him). He has a new nature to put in you; He has a new way of living to offer you; He has a new covenant to make with you...but He won’t force Himself on you. Imagine that, the God of the universe, the King of Kings, stands at your door and knocks, asking your permission to come in and dine with you. He will never force Himself on you; He is not a spiritual rapist. He will not force you to be intimate with Him or force you to love Him, for that would not be love. He did not make us robots without a free will who just serve Him in a zombie-like fashion.
Therein lies the snag...you get to choose...your way or His way...life or death. It’s all on you for your decision, not on God. But don’t forget, He’s over there hootin’ and hollerin’ for you to come to Him...to “find” Him. He has all you have ever been looking for...even some of the answers to your toughest questions. Go ahead...go...don’t wait any longer. Yoo-hoo, Jesus…over here...I’m coming!
© Michael Bednarek | Dreamstime.com
How many times have we said or heard, “You just don’t understand.” And it is true; we have trouble understanding each other. We see things from such different perspectives; opinions stand in the way; personal backgrounds differ, etc. But Jesus doesn’t suffer from such afflictions. In Hebrews 4:15 it states, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet he did not sin."
We know that Jesus feels our pain. The shortest verse in the Bible tells us, “Jesus wept.” Jesus knows about our suffering because He had to suffer so much Himself. He is the perfect leader who never asks us to do anything that He hasn’t also done Himself. Meditate on the following verses as you seek the Lord for relief from your pain, too.
Jesus knew weariness: "...Jesus, tired as He was from the journey, sat down by the well." (John 4:6)
We all get weary but Jesus leads the way to strength and victory.
Jesus knew sorrow: "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death." (Matthew 26:38)
Some of you may be in great sorrow and loss right now, but look to the only One who can comfort you in it.
Jesus knew rejection: "From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him." (John 6:66)
Words and actions can hurt so deeply, and you may be reeling from something someone just said or did. So look to Jesus who will help heal the wound of being “stabbed in the heart”.
Jesus knew temptation: "...he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan." (Mark 1:13)
You have tried so hard, but that weakness in your character and your soul keeps coming back at you. You feel like a dog chasing its tail. Let Jesus break the cycle so you can break free!
Jesus knew frustration: "He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables...'get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!’'" (John 2:15-16).
Oh, how many times have you been through something over and over again, and you just can’t seem to have the victory? Let Jesus soften those feelings (which are often based in pride). Let Jesus smooth the way to either get the resolve or the relief. He can give you the peace that keeps escaping your grasp.
Jesus knew disappointment: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem...how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks...but you were not willing." (Luke 13:34)
That job just slipped through your hands; that pay raise never materialized; that spouse is getting worse instead of better; your teenagers are getting more distant with every moment...it is getting darker each day. Let Jesus help change your perspective and your insight. He will lead you in the way you should go and disappointment shall flee.
Jesus knew ridicule: "Again and again they struck Him...and spit on Him. Falling on their knees, they paid [mocking] homage to Him." (Mark 15:19)
Again and again, they mock you at work for taking the higher moral road. Friends just don’t understand why you take purity in all things so seriously. Every day a mocking joke or comment is slipped your way. Let Jesus hold your heart (and your mouth) that you could see others as He sees them, and the hurt from their laughter will fade and turn to earnest love for them and their salvation.
Jesus knew poverty: "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head." (Matthew 8:20)
You just can’t seem to get ahead; the car is 15 years old and costing a fortune in repairs; the roof needs repair; the grocery list gets thinned out more each week...when will it end? Let Jesus show you how to look beyond your lack and into abundance in Him. The world may have lots of “stuff”, but you are a child of the King, and He has great things for you!
Jesus knew loneliness: "...My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46)
No one calls. The kids are off on their own journey and rarely stop by. The church seems blind to your needs. Whoa is me! Let Jesus fill your heart. It is amazing what an intimate relationship with Jesus can do to fill those “soul holes”.
Jesus REALLY understands...run to Him!
There is no power greater than the love of Jesus. He is ever present no matter what we are going through.