My body is breaking down; it seems like no one cares… Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you1… I am shown pictures of perfection and thrown products to help me reach them, but those dreams are tearing at the seams, and I wake up with fists clenched and pillow drenched. The pain and ugliness is deep rooted and more deeply buried with every attempt to cover it. Soon it will rise with nothing to hinder it, nothing to hide it. So, knowing this, my life is consumed by the fear that I will be found out… Perfect love casts out fear2… These hands have been stained and no soap can wash them… Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow3… I have fallen too far to be found. I am too deep in darkness to ever see the light again… If I ascend to Heaven, You are there! If I make my bed in Hell, You are there4…
I would cry right now, no closed doors, but I surround myself with people and things that give me no opportunity, and I bolt the door that hides my insecurities. Being alone would crush me, because sadness would find me, so I will drown my sorrows with something I can watch, touch, eat, or drink. But even those balms used outside my dreams leave me feeling empty, angry, and still searching … Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food5… Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life6… Work, study, run, eat, play, sleep, repeat; there is no purpose to the life I lead… Even every one that is called by My name; I have created him for My glory, I have formed him; yes, I have made him7… Is there really nothing more to life than the pursuit of happiness? I suppose that then gives me a right to sacrifice others for my pursuit of selfish bliss… Blessed/Happy are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin8… By this we know love, that Jesus laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.9
In utter despair and at a complete loss, I chose to step into a church today. I was greeted by smiling faces; some were set above nice clothes; some were covered up, disguising sad eyes; and few seemed truly genuine. Those dressed up nice looked at me with their smiling faces, but then I saw their eyes stray to my stained hands. They sized me up before they knew me, and then they turned away. If God doesn’t want to bother with me, I guess it makes sense that His followers wouldn’t want to either… For before that certain came from James, Peter did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision (or, strict law followers)… For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God, for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain10… Funny, I have seen these people preach on the streets, hold up their signs, and post great things on Facebook, but suddenly, when I saw them in some building, they were all meek. And it looked like most of those people had themselves together, but then again, a lot of them seemed to be putting on a show that I didn’t feel like taking part in. I want something real; something more than what I have now, but I didn’t see them having anything different than me. There is no way that I could be like any of those people… The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God… and such were some of you, but you were washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God11…
However, there was one person who stepped out from the crowd of faces to welcome me, and she asked what brought me to church that day. I told her that I didn’t really know; it was more like a last resort, but I felt like it was a mistake to come. She then proceeded to tell me the most surprising, and humbling, thing:
“You’re right, it might not be a good thing to look in a church for answers; this building has nothing for you. The treasure and answers you seek are hidden in the hearts of those who follow Jesus. For some reason, we, as Christians, choose to hide our treasure behind these walls. Too many think that church is the answer and that safety is the goal, but Jesus is the answer and He has called us to go into all the nations, proclaiming the Gospel and making disciples!”
“To put it simply, all of the people you see in this building have come from struggles and sins of their past. Some of them have been washed white by the power of Christ. And some of them are putting on a show, pretending to be following Christ, but still lost. And finally, there are people like you and me, seeking a Savior, hope, and purpose.
“By the grace of God, I have found the light and been found by Christ. He has saved me from the sins that enslaved me. I was once bound to drown myself in sins to cover up my sorrow and struggles, but Jesus reached in and saved me from sin… He saved me from myself. One passage in the Bible, a Psalm, echoes my story; I waited patiently for the LORD and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock; making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to my God.12
“Since I know I have been saved, I have no excuse not to follow my Savior, love Him, and declare His love for me and every lost soul. For if I preach the Gospel, I have no opportunity to boast, for necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!13 I must proclaim that Jesus has the power to save every soul or my faith and my life is bankrupt, devoid of meaning. Jesus has saved me from so much, so how can I now be silent?”
I listened to the words of this near stranger, I heard her voice shake, and near the end, I saw tears well up in her eyes. How could anyone have such passion for something?… Happy are your men! Happy are your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the LORD loved Israel forever, he has made you king, that you may execute justice and righteousness14… Her heart was genuinely broken, but also genuinely found. I want what she has.
How many people walk around with these thoughts going through their head? I have no idea.
Maybe you, reading this, can relate. But have the italicized words ever run through your brain as a response to your doubts and questions? When doubts hit you – when the world hits you – do words of comfort and strength come to you and overwhelm you with peace and reassurance? If not, then I urge you to read those italicized words again, and read them in context and from their source.
I have each verse cited below, but those are only small portions of a larger work that needs to be read today. The Holy Bible is so relevant to daily life. Jesus said; “I AM the bread of life: he that comes to Me shall never hunger; and he that believes on Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35) And in the beginning of the book of John it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1, 14) Jesus Himself was the Word made flesh. He dwelt among men, though He was the Son of God; though He was God. And He proclaimed that the gift He gives is life and sustenance that nothing in this world can take away from you or hope to replace.
Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the LORD and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not again, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater; so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:6-11)
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,” says the LORD, “thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall you call upon Me, and you shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you. And you shall seek Me, and find Me, when you shall search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
Please, read God’s Word, pray, and seek Him while He may be found, while it is still called, today.
- 1 Peter 5:7
- 1 John 4:18
- Psalm 51:7
- Psalm 139:8
- Isaiah 55:2
- John 4:13-14
- Isaiah 43:7
- Romans 4:7
- 1 John 3:16
- Galatians 2:12, 19-21
- 1 Corinthians 6:9a and 11
- Psalm 40:1-3
- 1 Corinthians 9:16
- 1 Kings 10:8-9