When you’re told something over and over again, it’s not hard to believe it. For as long as I can remember, my family has told me how much God loves me. The salvation story was engrained in my mind from a very young age. It doesn’t sound like a bad thing, right?
At fourteen-years-old my life started to spiral out of control. My family moved to a new state and I didn’t make friends as quickly as I thought I would. So, one day as I sat in my bedroom a thought crept into my mind.
What if it’s not true?
I started to wonder if God really loved me as much as everyone said. Up until this point, I’d heard a lot about God’s love, but it wasn’t until I hit my lowest point that I actually felt it for myself.
At fourteen I questioned, not only God’s love, but my entire purpose in life. What was I really on this earth to do?
Did I matter?
Satan wanted me to believe I didn’t. He wanted me to think the world would be better off without me. As hard as it is to admit, he almost had me convinced. I’d hit the rocky bottom of life and was ready to fade away. That was when I saw what I’d been missing.
You will never understand the magnitude of God’s love until you’re alone in the shadows. That’s when God reaches out His hand and reminds you He’s been there all along. You can either grab hold and let Him pull you out, or you can wallow in the anguish you feel.
I chose to grab His hand, and He didn’t waste any time pulling me into His arms.
After doubting Him, screaming for Him to leave me alone, and trying to continue the journey by myself, God still loved me enough to save me. He could’ve left me in the dark, but He didn’t. That’s when I knew it was true. God’s love knows no bounds and no matter what, He’ll never leave you.
As usual, I had to learn things the hard way, but if I could go back I wouldn’t change a single thing. Growing up in a Christian home has it’s benefits. You learn about God before you can walk and one of the first books you hold in your little hands is the Bible. You hear about God’s love, grace, and mercy. You learn to forgive and have forgiveness extended to you. It’s all fine until you grow up and realize you’ve only believed this message of hope because of what your family told you.
Being a Christian isn’t about hearing about God’s love. It’s about experiencing it.
Loving God isn’t saying the sinner’s prayer in Sunday school. It’s not memorizing the books of the Bible in Awana. It isn’t about how many verses you have committed to memory or how much of the Bible you’ve read. It’s not about living life without doubts.
Sometimes you have to doubt everything before you truly believe the important things.
Loving God is about giving everything else away. It’s relentlessly pursuing the passions He’s given you even when it hurts. It’s never giving up even when the darkness is so thick you can’t see your hand in front of your face. Loving Him is serving Him. It’s sitting in college honors class, all eyes on you, and defending your faith to an Agnostic.
Being a Christian means being afraid. Afraid of messing up. Afraid of missing the open door or window. Afraid of taking one more step of faith.
Being a Christian is loving God with your whole heart and realizing that even when you have nothing, you still have everything you need.
Photo credit: Jenni Beaver