Last week, our church had a beautiful girl come to the altar and accept salvation from Jesus!
What an awesome moment to witness!
Eleven years old and her whole life has changed! You could see as she sang with the youth group after her moment, that she really heard and understood the words for the first time. She knew what it meant to be given new life and what she had been saved from.
That smile. Those happy tears. The joy that was just protruding from all her pores.
That is just something that you do not understand until you feel it for yourself. The cocoon of security that God puts around you when you do nothing more than say, “Yes!”
Yet, this is where we struggle. Acceptance.
How can someone else accept me, if I can’t accept myself?
How can someone else forgive me, if I can’t forgive myself?
One thing I struggled to understand before becoming a parent was unconditional love.
Yes, I love my parents, my siblings, and my husband. I never plan to stop loving them, but they each have been able to get me upset enough that “love” was not exactly the emotion I would label those moments with! It did not mean I stopped loving them, but it was not the foremost emotion!
When I had my first child, and as I have raised this stubborn, attitude filled little boy, I have learned that through all the emotions that I have (whether joy, excitement, impatience, fear, etc.), “love” is always the primary one. When I introduce a new activity and his face lights up with excitement, I am so in love with that little face! When I have to punish him for not listening, I love him enough to correct his behavior now.
And God, as our Father, works the same way. He loves to see our joy. He loves when we understand His word and get filled by the spirit and allow it to take over. He loves when we overcome an obstacle we had been worrying about. He loves to help us when we are struggling. He also loves us enough to remind us that when we step out of line, we need to get back where we belong.
The still small voice, that is so often referenced, is there to guide us through this craziness of life.
However, we so often refuse to listen, especially before we accept the salvation He has offered.
Just like it is hard for my two year old to understand the reasons behind toys needing to be cleaned up before bedtime, we struggle daily as we try to understand the reason behind God’s love for us.
Humans (our significant other, our friends, etc) love us because of our personality traits, or our loyalty, or our humor.
However, when we compare those things as reasons for God to love us, they just do not add up. He sent His son to die for us. Why would He send someone to die for the person that gossips? Or the person that holds grudges? Or the person that has turned their back on someone? We struggle to understand why He would die for someone with all our flaws.
But those are the exact reasons that He died.
He died because Suzy was not pure minded enough on her own.
He died because Jack could not stop drinking on his own.
He died because Sam could not turn away from drugs on her own.
He died because Janet could not control her anger on her own.
Each and every one of us need His hand, His guidance, and His spirit to pour over us, to lead us through our day to day activities, to help us through the times we struggle, and to continue to keep us as we walk on the mountain.
This life is not meant to be traveled on our own. It is hard and grinding. It wears us down and makes joy hard to find the further we walk it alone.
But if we simply say “Yes” to Him, we have a helper. We have someone to help carry burdens, someone to lean on, someone to talk too and someone to work through things with.
Our Father has never wanted us to be alone through this life. He sees your struggles, and He sees you trying to do it all on your own. He wants to help.
Just like I want my children to lean on me through their life, our Father wants us to lean on Him.
So, you don’t have to accept your flaws on your own. You don’t have to understand the reasons for His love.
All you have to do is accept it!
For by grace ye are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8 (KJV)