What I have learned over the last, well to be fair I’ll give myself a few years, but what I have learned over the last 20 some years is that when you face something awful and terrible you have two choices: take care of it yourself or let Him take care of you.
For most of my life I’m sure you can guess which one I applied more often.
But not this time. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve reached a certain maturity or if it’s because I have become so desperate for my God. I have a feeling that this is pure desperation.
I have to laugh when people tell me how strong I am. How strong I’m being. How if it were them they couldn’t do it.
I am not strong. What you see isn’t me. It’s Him.
My choice to sit still is not my choice at all. It’s His. Trust me. I have absolutely no desire of my own flesh to sit here and wait, quietly. Absolutely none. I want to yell. Fight. Get attention. Make a scene.
But it is out of pure desperation that I find myself here. But I like it. No, wait, I love it.
I absolutely love being desperate for God. I love knowing that I absolutely need Jesus. And I love that I have become so empty that He can fill me with His Holy Spirit.
Because here’s what I’ve learned. I’ve learned that I am so in love with my Father. I am so in love that I am happy to be going through this and experiencing all of these highs and lows that have come my way, I love it so much because I get to experience Him in a way I never knew existed.
I have sat back and thought for the last few weeks about everything that has happened in the last 10 years of my life. I have been convicted of so many things. Sins. Let’s be real, I’ve been convicted of a lot of sins.
Sins I didn’t even know were sins. He has revealed so much truth to me over the last few weeks. And in a time when I have felt the most unlovable He has allowed me to experience a side of love I didn’t even know was real.
I talked about it all the time. I could recognize it. But I never felt it. I was too busy with everyone else. With myself. Making excuses. Sure, I had time for God, but it was after everything else had been taken care of. He got my leftovers.
You can’t experience Him in leftovers.
I am a reader. I read everything. I have a thirst for knowledge. I want to know the most I can. I would seek after God in all kinds of books. As you can imagine, I have been pounding away at my reading list over the last few weeks. Desperately grabbing at anything I could get my hands on.
Books on why this happened. Books on what I can do now. Books on healing, forgiving, letting go. You name it, I’ve probably read it.
I’ve been looking for explanations, answers, something, but it never filled me up. Not the way I wanted. Or needed.
And then I began reading the bible more. I already have 2 devotionals each day. I thought I had been reading enough. But I was missing something.
Encouraged to read the Old Testament, I sort of chuckled up at Heaven. I mean, I was no expert, but shouldn’t I read something I can understand?
But because of this new sense of wanting nothing more than to obey, I did just that. I’ve been bouncing back and forth between books of the Old Testament, not really knowing what exactly it is I’ve been looking for, but then I realized I already got it.
You see, I have looked at the Old Testament as though it didn’t apply to me. That God was mean and angry. That’s not the God I knew. Not the God I was taught about. But as I desperately read each page I realized that the Old Testament is exactly what we needed.
I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ died for me on the cross for my sins. I believe that He rose from the dead after 3 days and was resurrected into Heaven. That I get. That I understand. But I’m missing something. I was missing something.
He assured me I would find it in the pages of the Old Testament. Not even specific places. So I just flipped through page after page, reading whatever I could and He was right. I did find it.
I cringed as I read some of the things that took place in the Old Testament. I mean, people were really messed up back then. And then there were the rules. All the rules. They were instructed to take no pity on people. Eye for an eye. Tooth for a tooth. Geez…
And then it hit me. Just as He promised.
The Old Testament wasn’t a place just to talk about how angry or mean God was. It wasn’t a place to discourage people, but yet it should be a place that would encourage people.
All those rules? All those times where God was just being, well, just, fair, right. That was the reality before Jesus Christ. People hardly stood any chance at all at having a relationship with God. We are just that bad. Sin destroyed our relationship with God.
For years I thought I couldn’t relate to the Old Testament. Why? I am a sinner who desperately needed a savior. Could you imagine if we still had to offer sacrifices to God each time we messed up? I don’t know about you, but there wouldn’t be enough animals for a lifetime with me.
So as I’m reading the Old Testament and as I am realizing how it begs and pleads for Jesus Christ, I realize that there is my answer.
I am this exact story. I am a sinner who desperately needs a Savior. For years, I have done it on my own, following a list of rules or commands, whatever you want to call it, trying to align each step with God and falling so short, so painfully short. I am tired. Out of breath. And then there He is.
He makes the distance that I feel from God vanish in an instant. And because He lives I have nothing to be afraid of. He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.
I don’t think God just sent Jesus to die for us. Of course I know He did, but I also think He sent Jesus to live with us. He knew we stood no chance on our own and because He so desperately loves us and wants a relationship with us, not because we deserve it, not because we’re just that great, but because He just loves us that much, He has provided us with all that we need, in Jesus Christ.
As a father, I can’t imagine the looks on His face as He has watched me make the wrong decisions over and over and over again. But as my Lord and my Savior, I can only see Jesus saying ‘She’ll get it. She’s almost there. Just watch.’ Always pulling for us. Always pushing us to do better. Be better. Never giving up on us. Always helping us back up on our feet.
The Old Testament wasn’t just a place for God to be mad or angry. Yes He was those things as He should be, but He was also very forgiving and very patient. However, even more than that I think it really was a place for us to see just how desperate they were for Jesus and how that can even still apply today. But how we should be even more grateful that we live in a time where our relationship with God is not determined by the way we live our lives, but by the blood of His own son on that cross.
Because I don’t know about you, but I desperately need Jesus Christ.