I can not remember the day I came to know Jesus’ saving power.
I must’ve been little. I remember being in Sunday school even before my little sister was born pretending to have chest pains. The teacher said, alarmed, “What’s wrong?” And I said, “Jesus is in my heart. I can feel Him moving around in there.”
I was always told about Jesus. It was part of a heritage given to me by mother, aunt and grandmother. He is a constant in my life, without beginning and without end.
I have no exciting story of radical salvation.
My story is more one of radical restoration.
As a young teenager, I resented not having had a ‘before’. I felt like my saving story was kind of anticlimactic and boring even. I remember being asked to give a testimony and it going like this, “I have just always known Him.”
Certainly at various times in life, I stepped away from His grace, away from the cross. I walked my own way. Walked my own path. Made some mistakes, changed my life for the good and the ill.
But what has always been true is this: He has been faithful to me. He never gave up, never forgot and never walked away.
When Big Life Stuff comes my way, I often fight His goodness and refuse to believe in it. I accuse Him of loving everyone else but me. I accuse Him of not wanting to give good gifts to me. I cry and I flail and I struggle and strive.
And when I reach the end of my endurance, as I always do, and my eyes have nowhere else to look…I remember Him. I remember Him. And I remembered that in all of the Big Life Stuff, there are always truths that I can stand on.
1. HE is real.
2. HE is good.
3. HE loves me.
4. HE will work all things together for my good.
5. His ways are not my ways.
I’ve talked about these truths before but I keep going back to them because I know they are true. And what I want to say to you today is this:
Whether I am fighting Him or cooperating, whether I am laughing or crying, whether am in sin or in righteousness and whether I believe it or not, these things are true. He is real, He is good, He loves me, He will work all things together for my good.
And because I can rest in the fact that these things are true and because I can know them like I know my name…I can accept number five. His ways are not my ways. He does things in His own way. He is mysterious and creative. He thinks of things I would never think of. He sees the beginning, the middle and the end. He can see that sometimes the thing that I think will save the day is really the thing that’s going to ruin everything. He knows the end of the story. He does, in fact, know better.
And the best part of it all is that no matter what, no matter where I am or what I’m doing…He stands with me. If I’ve told Him I’m done with Him and never want to speak His name again…He stands with me. If I cling to His garment and beg for mercy, He stands with me. If I am apathetic and wrapped up in the world, He stands with me. Because He doesn’t change and He is love and so His love never changes. It never, ever changes.
Over the weekend, I stood on the beach and stared at the waves. I breathed the salted air. I felt the warm and cool sand on my bare feet. I felt His air all around me. The oceans they rolled on and on and on and on. The waves crashed and crashed and crashed…perfectly in tune and I looked at the ocean and thought…”These are the oceans He created.” Such a mystery. Such majesty.
This same One who made the ocean and who never changes…He is the same One who made me, who loves me and who is wildly faithful to me.
A piece of my heart that had never been stirred before came to life.