If you were able to hear Sandy speak this morning, you were blessed to hear her honest story about her personal lessons regarding forgiveness. What I really appreciated (besides her transparency and focus on God) was the fact that she decided to tell her OWN story, rather than add the details of how she was hurt and why she needed to forgive. She did not let us get bogged down in the details, but rather pointed to God’s faithfulness and her own growth.
We all have a story to tell. While God may not call most of us to share our testimony from a stage, He may call us to comfort a neighbor who needs to hear from someone who has been there. Or God may use us to challenge others to persevere. Most importantly, He wants to be part of our own story, no matter the stage.
In this time of of celebrating Christ’s Resurrection, I am glad for the opportunity to remember that Christ died for ME. Yes, He definitely died for the whole world, yet one of His thoughts was on me. Me. When you take a look at other religions, they are about rituals. Christianity shows the need for relationship and that God’s very own Son came to establish a personal one. Not that I am deserving of this – I am not.
When I was reading the book of Deuteronomy this morning, Moses was reminding the people that God did not choose Him because they were better. He chose them because He loved them (and because the other nations were worse – not sure that was a compliment, but …) Even back in the Old Testament, God was choosing to connect with His people. Out of grace, not out of favor.
On the way to MOPS today, I was running behind. And I was feeling a stressed about that and the fact that even though I had been up for several hours, I had so much that was undone. Discouragement was clouding my soul. When I was 5 minutes from church, a song that God had really used to speak to many years ago came on the radio. I turned up the radio really loud (sorry, my kids, when you are deaf someday), and I sang along. As I arrived the last notes were about to play, and there was a peace in my heart that had not been there at beginning of the trip. God breathed His life into my weariness. While the DJ may never exactly know how and why that song was chosen for that moment, I know why. God loves ME and knew exactly what I needed at that moment.
I want to be clear that while there have been definite moments like that one where I felt God’s presence in such a tangible way, there have also been moments when silence has felt like a weight. God is not a happy potion that cures all of our ails. Sometimes we may go through times or even seasons (like the long one Sandy shared about from her story) where loneliness and sadness seem to be our only friends. But even through those spans, God is longing for us to invite Him in and to let Him be the major player in our own story. He wants to be the author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
The God of the Universe wants to be intimately connected with You. He wants to be evident to You, just like He chose to touch me as an individual today. If you do not have a relationship that is personal with Him, please talk to one of MOPS mentors or even a member of steering. Any of us would be glad to tell you how this possible. (You can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will be in touch with you!) And if you know that you have made a close connection but have since grown distant, someone would be glad to pray with you and encourage you as you find your way back home. Just as Sandy’s greatest gift was her daughter’s homecoming at Easter four years ago, God’s greatest gift could be if you truly let Him make His home in your heart this year. Who knew that presents did not have to stop at Christmastime? They truly can keep going all year long. Especially at Easter. God’s greatest gift happened on that Good Friday so long ago. Celebrate that tomorrow!