It was the moment that I thought maybe God had left me. That dreadful, awful, heart aching moment was what saved me.
When I headed off to college, I believed that God was mighty and I had seen Him move in my life, but I was just starting to understand what it means to live a life for God. There was sin in my life that I wanted to get rid of and had been trying to get rid of for as long as I could remember, but certain sins decided to linger. As my relationship with the Lord grew and grew, I kept finding myself in a low valley, feeling unworthy and ashamed at the sins that I still acted on. I knew God loved me, but every time I did him wrong, I felt as if I lost touch with Him and had to start back at square one to rebuild our relationship. I started in a vicious cycle of highs and lows in my relationship with Jesus. I would feel on top of the world and so loved by God and then I would sin and spend hours praying to Him to take away the desires of my heart that were leading me astray. I just didn’t want God to give up on me. I couldn’t figure out why God wouldn’t answer my prayers when I was literally asking Him to take away my desire to sin. You can only imagine that this lead me to believe two things. 1.) God was so disappointed in me that he didn’t want to help me, and 2.) God had left me.
So, it was at this moment where I was curled up in my bed, sobbing, defeated and angry, when I let God have it. I couldn’t even get the words out audibly, so my brain screamed accusations at Jesus. Why would you just leave me here? Do you really not care about me at all? Do you like seeing me struggle down here all by myself? I can’t keep scrambling to rebuild my relationship with you! Why. Would. You. Leave. Me?
I lay there in silence, exhausted by the way my emotions just overtook my body. In that moment of silence, I felt an unnatural peaceful feeling fall over me. That’s when I felt Jesus say, “Are you finally going to let me take care of you?”
I really couldn’t believe what I was finally understanding. The whole time I was trying not to fall into sin, I was using my own strength to stop myself. Sure, I asked God every day to fix my situation, but I was asking him to help me do it. I wasn’t letting Him do it. Basically, I was trying to maintain a relationship with Jesus through my own acts, very little faith and practically no understanding of his love for me.
What I thought was a never-ending sin struggle was a period where Jesus was trying to encourage me to cling to Him and only Him. The trial to me seemed pointless, everlasting and non-progressive, but God was allowing me to endure the trial to make me realize how engaged He is in my life. Once I came to understand that my own strength wasn’t strong enough, I knew it was time to let go.
As believers in Christ, when we go through a trial, we ask God to help us make it through the hardship. It’s like standing in the middle of a tunnel and staring ahead at the light thinking, “That is where I will find Jesus. Once I reach that light, then I’ll be able to focus on the things God has for me.” All we have to do is make it to the end of the tunnel and Jesus will be there waiting. Right?
What if while we were standing in the tunnel, we decided to look to our left instead of straight ahead. When we looked to our left, we noticed that Jesus was already standing next to us. Not only is he standing next to us, but his hand is outstretched, asking us to hold onto it. We can either decide to hold on for dear life, or we can ignore it and tell Jesus to meet us at the end, because once we reach the end, then we will be worthy enough to associate with Him.
The only problem is that we are the only ones who think we have to prove our worth to Jesus. We are the only ones who think our trials distance us from God. What our trials really are, are an invitation to get to know the true nature of God. When we have no answers, nowhere else to turn, and we know our strength isn’t enough, then we desperately seek who Jesus really is.
God is engaged, committed and present in our life, and not just during the good times. No amount of strength that we have alone is going to make us sinless enough to please God.
We don’t have to please Him in order for Him to love us.
I encourage you to look to your left. Jesus is already there.