I sat in church, amidst a sea of faces, some who knew me well, others who wouldn’t be able to pick me out in a lineup. I loved my church, I still do, though I’ve moved on. I loved the people, the leadership, the diversity, the energy. I love the constant run towards God, even if not always close to perfect. Our goal was finding God and helping others find what we already knew.
Except that I didn’t know what I believed any longer. Circumstances had hit me hard and I was dealing with rejection from a number of sources very close to me. Cloaked in confusion I couldn’t see beyond myself. I wore pain like rose covered glasses.
I wish that I could say it was the first time something like this happened. Only 4 years earlier I sat in the Royal Albert Hall, longing for answers. Screaming out to God, giving Him ultimatums.
As the service ended, like the weeks before and for weeks following, when given the chance, I, along with the countless others loudly and boldly prayed what we call the “Salvation prayer”. I didn’t even believe it at first, I didn’t know if I wanted to keep going on this path. I cried out, speaking those words, longing for a tangible feeling.
I prayed myself into belief again.
And like back into 2008, God showed up.
There were no grand overtures, miraculous signs or wonders. As I lay down my humanity, God took over.
It took my unbelief, my desire for answers to connect again.
And it continues today.
It’s super awesome being a believer in Christ. Until you wake up. Literally, each night you fall asleep and then you wake up and you’re just like anyone else in the entire world.
Until you call out.
Again and again.
God is like a gentleman caller, eagerly awaiting his beloved to allow Him into her presence. Stood across the room, he steals glances at her, longing to bring her close, but polite enough to understand that forced affection grows weary, but true love, tried, tested and endured will stand the test of time.
“The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the Lord appeared to him[a] from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”
C. S. Lewis so eloquently stated: “Merely to override a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo.”
He is always there, but until we call to Him, seek Him, He is simply there loving us.
I don’t think my journey is over. I still have days where I wonder and question though those have changed all those years ago.
Instead of wondering if I believe, instead of questioning God, I ask myself why I question His love, what I am doing that makes me feel further away or left in silence. Instead of running away, I run towards.
Towards His Love.
Towards His Grace.
Towards His promises.