Back in January I made a promise to God. That anything I felt His prompting to do, I would say yes. I didn't want to miss any other good things He gave me. I felt as though I had a great thing pass me by and I didn't want another broken heart looking back again. I realize that there are times where I have let my anxiety get in the way. My emotions and feelings have run the ship of my life. That's a whole other story for another day though. Tonight I'm talking about saying yes to God's call.
Driving home tonight after finishing my second bible study session, I thanked God I said yes in January to starting. No sooner than just making the promise to God, He had presented me with an opportunity to put 'my yes where my heart is.' A friend asked me to join her for the next session of bible study at her church. I didn't hesitate. I said yes right away, left to think about what I had gotten myself into after the fact. (Though, I have come to realize this is NOT the way I should be making decisions!) At the time I knew it was absolutely due to the fact that I had committed to God not to run away from the unknown. That was the beginning of God showing up in my life in answers to prayers, as a new dedicated believer, it's been such a surreal experience.
If I hadn’t said yes, I’d probably be still home feeling bad about myself. Even worse than that, I might have become content again with the way my life was. Yet, because I said yes, I have developed relationships that could have eventually dissolved. I met new friends and felt encouraged into fellowship with others outside the group and outside this church. I believe this is just the beginning of these friendships I have made.
I had been sad to have lost the person I considered my best friend. The person who lived through my emotional trials while I figured out how my past fit into my life. The person who I entrusted with things I had once sworn to take to the grave with me. Someone I allowed to see my broken pieces and who tried to offer me promises of a better day. The one who I could turn to and believed they would always be there no matter what. This was my person and my person was gone.
Talking to God, I reflected on my thoughts that He is the one that has really been through all of this with me. Though I've always known this truth, I never fully comprehended until tonight. I never stopped to consider even in my loss that I still had one who had been here for every single part of it. Even now. God has actually lived through my physical pain with me. While a best friend is the most important person in someone's life besides their significant other, God is still greater. He can love me like no other, because He knows the pain I grew up with. He hasn't just heard my tearful stories, He was there, and He was crying when I was crying. He has literally seen me since the first time my father lashed out at me to the last time he put his hands on me. He knows the pain, shame, and fear I have experienced. He was there with me.
I was crying the whole drive home from bible study tonight. Not sad tears or happy tears... but tears of relief. Tears of understanding. The tears that have come not because it hurts to hold on but because it feels so weightless to let go. Tears because I understand so much more than I did yesterday. Tears because every day I feel stronger than the day before.
I started thinking of Jesus dying on the cross for me. It dawned on me why I cringe more hearing about the scourging Jesus endured than the nailing of his hands and feet. In a way, I have felt that same torment. In that same thought, Jesus felt the lashes when I was beaten by my fathers belt. He felt each and every time it whipped across my backside. Harder and sharper and burning more than the one before. So much hurt that if that's all it was than it was a good day.
I realize not only does Jesus understand my pain because of His own beatings but because He saw the lashes I took. It's such a strange emotion for me. I understand Him and He understands me. Is this how God intends it to be? I know how it feels to be whipped until it hurts, even if I don’t know to the extent He felt it. I know what it’s like to have to pick up your cross and walk after the beating. To me it is relative to my father telling me to stop crying after he just dealt me a series of strong blows. Both feeling heavy and impossible. I know what it’s like to live with pain I didn't deserve just as Jesus died for the sins He didn't deserve.
Perhaps when Jesus cried, "My God, why have you forsaken me?," it wasn't because he felt betrayed by God. For one split moment, I believe, maybe he was speaking for me to my own earthly father. Driving home the fact that He has felt what I have felt. Not a day went by that I didn't think these words, maybe not in this same phrase, but still asked the question in my heart. 'Dad, why do you hurt me so much when I just want to love you?' Perhaps, maybe, just maybe, for that split second, Jesus was asking that question for all of us who have been so deeply hurt by someone. I know that I’m putting my own heart into this, but doesn't it seem to make sense? When you juxtapose our pain with His pain, the words that He says and the ways we have felt? I just find this to be a stunning direct correlation that I never noticed before tonight.
I wonder if Jesus cried not because He hurt from His own physical pain, not just because this world was sinful. But rather, cried knowing the pain that we would endure simply because we would be born into this world. That for no other reason than being born that we were born to suffer. I believe, He cried knowing that the sin would be so deep that it would hurt the innocent. He cried for us before we met our pain, knowing fully well what was coming for each one of us.
Then He came in like a superhero and said, “It is finished.” Why? Because that's what the superhero says to the villain to let him know his time is up. That his scheme is broken. His plans have failed. No longer do we have to suffer eternal consequences for our sin. Sin that we were born into because of Adam's fall. He was our Superhero sent to slay the enemy.
Jesus knew that we would suffer coming into this world, but He also knew it would be worth it. He knew the love that we can receive from God far trumps any pain that we may endure in this lifetime. That love alone is worth the fight. That love endures all things. Hopes all things. Believes all things. This love – it’s everything. And He knew it. Thank you, Jesus, for loving me.
Though I endure trials for a little while, there is great joy ahead that no one can take away. I don’t have joy because my earthly father has died, but because my Savior lives. My pain does not go away just because things changed but my joy comes because of His love.
Tonight in the final video of our Beth Moore study she said something that really caught my attention. It fits so perfectly here;
"Joy is supposed to be non-circumstantial. Happy is circumstantial."
Joy is happiness that does not change just because our situation changes. I love that. I believe the great joy ahead is the same joy that I had an overwhelming feeling of way back here.
"So look up, look up… this is a song about the morning, after a long night."
It’s been a long night. Every day of my life leading up to this night. May 14, 2014 – it’s been a long, long, long night.
But this is a song about the morning. Though pain comes in the night, the joy comes in the morning. When I looked up to Jesus, the light came.
I am home now and it’s still light out. There’s nothing coincidental about this. It's not just the earthly season change. This is my spiritual season change. This is my new beginning. This is the light that I’ve prayed for, the hope that I believed in. This is my home for now, my light for now, but there will come a day with a home greater than this and a light far brighter than this.
Does that mean when the sun arises tomorrow that I don’t have some of the same pain? Not at all. But it does mean that I don't have to suffer because of my pain. I am loved by God and to be loved is the greatest feeling. Jesus died for me because He loved me so much. He cried because He felt my pain. He rejoices because I have found Him. I love my Lord.
I'm so happy that I said yes to many things since that first yes. I know there's a yes that I can't wait to say one day. What a beautiful dress rehearsal that I get to live every day of my life up until that day. I am loved by a King. He calls me His bride. I'm so glad I said yes to Him and I cannot wait to see what the rest of this beautiful life holds!