I missed church last Sunday and this past Wednesday, and when I say I missed it I’m not referring to just not making it. I’m missed it. I missed being in fellowship with other believers. I missed hearing the word presented in a new way. I missed the presence of God during praise and worship. It was a great sermon this morning. I needed that reminder that I am not the only one who needs to receive new measures forgiveness and encouragement. I am still a sinner saved by grace.
Today, I am asking for forgiveness yet again. That seems to be the theme of my life. “God I’m sorry for this. God I’m sorry for that.” At times, I see that as a failure to live in a way that is holy and pleasing to God. I look at my constant need for forgiveness as proof of how I’m not doing it right. This past week, I have felt like I should be the poster child for what not to do. I have felt like a fraud. Who am I to teach bible study? Who am I to teach a Sunday School class? Who am I to do anything in the name of Christ Jesus? I have been looking back on each failure, and lumping them together as proof of my uselessness … as proof of why I shouldn’t proclaim the name of Christ. Not because of Him not being worthy, but because my failure may make my God look bad.
The truth is, I have allowed myself to again be more concerned about how others would view me instead of how God views me. When I said the sinners prayer and accepted Christ, I was broken and hopeless. I was beginning to see the train wreck that was my life, and clung to the possibility of a savior that would set everything right. I wish I could say that my salvation began with a confidence within me that God was real, and that deliverance was around the corner. I could say that, but it wouldn’t be true. I entered into my relationship with Christ with caution, with doubt, and with one foot in the world so that I could quickly jump ship the moment it started to sink.
We attended church for several years, and the grace from God was evident in our life. It had to be grace because even though we went to church faithfully, I didn’t commit to Christ. That commitment came at another time of brokenness. A time when I felt betrayed and abandoned by so many people. It came at a time when I was on my bathroom floor, and I had grabbed my bible to use as the platform to roll a joint. I was trying to bury the pain. I was trying to escape what had become my reality. I was trying to run from what my life had become. Through the tears, I heard that still, small voice asking me “which one will you choose”. I had two vastly different paths before me. I had the living word of Christ that I didn’t understand, and I had the familiar escape that I had chosen in years past. That day, broken on my bathroom floor, I chose Christ. I entered into a closer relationship with Christ with caution and with doubt.
Again, I found myself at a crossroads. I had grown in my relationship with Christ enough to know that He was giving me the reassurance that He could rebuild my marriage. I was still healing from brokenness, and felt exposed. I didn’t trust myself to make any decisions bigger than what to have for dinner; and even being able to make that decision took months of rebuilding. I had a choice to trust God or trust myself. I entered into trusting Christ with caution.
I have had so many moments of brokenness, just as we all have. I’m not the first; and definitely not the last; who will ever look at where they are and have regret. But today I realized again that without those times of brokenness, I wouldn’t have experienced the victory. I wouldn’t have a testimony that has encouraged countless people. I wouldn’t have the amount of compassion that God has blessed me with if I didn’t experience for myself humiliation, condemnation and loss. I was reminded today that each trial God allows me to go through will be for the glory of the kingdom if I allow it to be.
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” – Acts 20:24
Scott and I have prayed for years to be used to reach others. We have prayed that our testimony; the one already made and the one yet to be lived; would be used to purify us and to provide others with hope. I am thankful that each disappointment, each failure and each sin; when given to Him; will always be used for the ultimate glory of God. Today, I enter into a deeper dependence on Christ, without caution and without doubt.
Lord, I thank you that you have blessed me with the privilege to participate in your plan. Grow me and use me however you choose. Amen.