Can I tell you a not-so-secret secret? I sinned. Surprise, surprise.
In fact, I didn’t just sin; I flat out left God. I gave up on Him, called it quits on the whole faith thing, packed my worldly bags, and hit the road. I took a nose-dive into a deep, dark pit of pain, anger, and pride that quickly became my grave. I dug it myself, too, with my handy-dandy worry skills and sin shovel.
And when I wanted to go back to God, I had no clue what to say or do and was terrified.
I know that I’m not the only one. I know that there are people - family, friends, maybe even you - that can feel this way at times, too.
This is for them, and this is for you.
Life sucks, okay? Let’s just lay that dirty sock on the table and admit that we all think that sometimes, mmkay? Sometimes it’s hard and painful and tough, and sometimes you want to scream and cry and cuss at God.
Err…in the midst of hitting the road, I may or may not have done just that (shhhhhh)…. So it’s okay if you have. I won’t judge. Pinky promise.
Anywhoooo, we all know how sucky life gets when it decides to hit the fan. We see every bad and awful and worrisome thing that will ever happen for all of eternity, (Or am I the only one?)
When we focus on our problems, we see everything we cannot do and cannot understand, which leads us into a GIANT MEGA-TORNADO OF CONFUSION.
This is a huge problem, and let me explain why. God is a pretty cool Dude who can do anything, and when we focus on the hugeness of our problems, we forget the hugeness of the Guy who created the entire universe and who therefore has plenty of enough power to fix our problems AND understand that it might be best not to fix them just yet.
But our eyes are still glued to our mess, and we can’t see the goodness of God anymore. So we get angry, confused, and hurt. (I mean, who wouldn’t be angry if their eyes were glued to a big ball of catastrophe with laser beams and ninja stars?)
I was there. I know how it is. I was angry with God for allowing the world to become so evil, I was hurt by the people and things in the world, and I was so very confused about how I could get so far away from God so fast. At that point, I really didn't care if God was faithful and powerful enough to change things, I just wanted to be angry. And I let that anger fester into doubt, and that doubt into hopelessness.
There was a war inside of me between one side begging God to kill me, one side trying to give up on God, and a small little militia just fighting to keep God in my heart.
I didn’t know what to do or what to believe. My emotions were too much, and nothing made sense. Life sucked, and it just kept getting suckier the longer that freaking fan was on.
A few days later, I finally hit a breaking point when I found myself contemplating throwing myself out of a moving vehicle.
That’s when I realized that I had a problem, and that’s when I realized that I couldn’t do this life thing alone. No matter how terrible life was at that moment, I remembered how happy I was when I was actively seeking God. I remembered the freedom, joy, and hope that had lived in me. I remembered everything that God had done for me - the answered prayers, the loving surprises - and I broke.
I didn't know what to say to God then. I was terrified that He had given up on me. I thought that He would be angry and disappointed, and I struggled for another couple of days just building up the courage to talk to Him.
That's when I was reminded of Psalm 51, and I knew that passage was what I needed to say. I could feel it down to my pretty blue toenails.
Desperate and grabbing at anything that would get me back to God, I cracked open my Bible to Psalm 51, and I prayed those verses like they were the last words I was ever going to say.
It opened my eyes to see God, truly, and not just what was going on in my life. It opened my heart to love, mercy, grace, and hope. It freed my mind from selfish thoughts and pride. And that was just the beginning.
Over the course of the next week, God began filling me up in small doses (which was all I could take after that hellish week) with love and encouragement.
God didn't shoo me away or glare at me with angry eyes. Heck, He didn't even say, "I told you so." He chased after me, wrapped me in His arms, and held me, while whispering sweet words of affection as I weeped and begged for forgiveness.
Don't you dare think that you are too far gone for His love to reach you. Don't you dare think that life is hopeless and that God hates you. Don't you dare think that the abundant life is not for you, too.
Those are lies, and you need to unglue your eyes from focusing on them. Glue them on Truth.
Here's the truth: No matter how much crap hits the fan in your life, no matter how many times you sin, and no matter how much things just don't make sense, God's steadfast love and great compassion continues to chase you day and night. That's the gospel, that's the message of Jesus Christ.
I don't know where you're at in life, but I do know one thing, and that's that God adores you still. If you go to Him, He will take care of you and sustain you. He will unplug the fan and start cleaning up the crap, but you need to fix your eyes on Him and go to Him.
And if you're scared to death to go to Him and can't find the words to say, I suggest Psalm 51. Just start there. I dare you.