It had been a rough week. I was stressed out, and weary of doing all the small and big “hard things” in my life. More than that, I realized just how far my relationship with God had slid.
Don’t get me wrong, I was still “a good kid”. As a Pastor’s Kid, I’m extremely involved in my church. I am productively (and at times insanely) busy with school, work, extracurricular activities, and of course the “small hard things” of being part of a functioning family. But yet I felt completely drained spiritually.
I had allowed myself to make doing hard things my idol, robbing my heart and my time of what was rightfully God’s. And here I was, completely exhausted from doing so many good “hard things” in my own strength. I felt guilty even praying, but deep down inside I knew that praying was the only thing that COULD help me. So I started, anticipating a long Jacob like wrestling or some sort of penance process to regain my connection with God.
“Well I’m coming to you right now because I’ve really messed up. I’ve let life, and busyness, and even doing hard things come in between us. I feel so far away from you. I don’t know how to get back. I feel lost. I know the chasm between us is my fault, but I don’t know what can bridge the gap. It seems impossible…..” I went on and on, expressing my guilt, doubt, and remorse until finally fatigued from my own prayer, I paused to take a mental breath. And that is when God showed up. With just about the simplest most powerful answer I could ever imagine.
“Ok, you’re back”
I was amazed and awestruck. Could it really be this easy? Nah, I must have just imagined it, there’s no way it could be that simple. So I again started my repetitious doubtful prayer.
“That’s really cool God, but…you just don’t understand, I feel so far away from you, and I really failed this time…” God stops me mid sentence.
“SIERRA! JUST STOP!” he says in patient frustration. “It’s called Grace. I died so it COULD be this simple. Are you sorry for what you’ve done?”
“Do you want to come back, and restore the relationship we had?”
“Then believe that I have forgiven you, accept my priceless Grace, and let’s move forward together doing hard things, for my strength is made perfect in weakness”
I sat in the silence, soaking up the peace that comes with surrender and forgiveness. I felt so relieved, and so close to God. But one question still remained unanswered in my mind.
“God, If getting reconnected with you is so easy, why did Jacob have to wrestle all night with the Angel before receiving the blessing he longed for, or why did the children of Israel have to wander in the wilderness for forty years before inheriting the land promised to them?”
“I am a God of mercy and love. Every time one of my children desires forgiveness and a reconnection with me, they are immediately granted their request if they just believe. This is why I died. But there is a time for everything, and the time for deep wrestling, and intense soul searching with God is while you ARE connected. The purpose of this is to deepen and sweeten the already existing connection. It pains me to watch people suffer when all things are possible for them if they just believe.”
“Wow God! I never thought of it that way before! That is really cool…God, I give you all my “hard things” that I’m involved in. Help me to put you first. And prioritize to effectively use my talents and gifts for your glory.”
I came away from my “Rebelutionary” conversation with God refreshed and rejuvenated. A new energy raced through me. I was ready to take on another day through His grace. Truly His strength is made perfect in our weakness!