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I’ve been a believer in Christ for forty years, and I’m barely beginning to grasp how much God loves me. Soon after I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and come into my life, heartache and anger at God sent me off course. During those years of pain, I doubted God’s love and mercy.

The Lord impressed on me the fact that I did not know him very well. He drew me into a time of discovery. The process back to comprehension of God’s true character was slow. I invested meticulous effort to grow in the knowledge of God as he defines himself in his Word. Until then, my ideas of him were false.

During the years of darkness, I saw him as harsh, uncaring, and vindictive. That is not who YAHWEH, the One God, is. That is the personality of his enemy.

To help me grow in the knowledge of the Lord, older women taught me to observe, interpret, and apply God’s Word. God’s words are medicine. And I need healing. I am dry bones without the Lord, a desert soul, as Rend Collective sings.

 

Weekly I stand inside razor-wire and gaze into the eyes of women just like me. They have also wandered in dark places. I preach to them the same compassionate truths that mend my soul day by day. The gospel is healing balm.

This is the truth that satisfies and restores: 

God loved you before he even created this universe. He planned ahead for your redemption and sent his Son to die for your sins. Knowing everything you would do and how you would run, still he cherished you and orchestrated his pursuit of your heart. He wants you to be his.

He longs to draw you into his arms. His tender commitment to you is unshakable. He offers you forgiveness for every single sin. He wants to heal your wounds. His arms are open wide. He is calling you to come. When you entrust yourself to Jesus and become his own, he places his own Holy Spirit within you to give you life and to empower your healing.

We don’t have to clean ourselves up to gain his love. It was already bestowed before we even existed. Without his help, we are all powerless to overcome the sin and darkness in our lives. By his grace alone are we made alive, given faith, and adopted into God’s family. He restores our souls.

Lumen Christi

Eustaquio Santimano via Compfight

Some of us have to wander into terrifying pits before we can see the shining light of the truth, like a lamp glowing bright in a dark place. It is then that we see God for who he is. He is exactly what we need. Only he can satisfy the yearning of our souls.

Embrace the path you have trod. It has been used by God to draw you to himself. Nothing is wasted. Your life on this earth is a fleeting vapor. Even eighty years is not long in light of eternity, and God has eternity in mind. He will do whatever it takes, even put on flesh, live among us, and die a horrific death to save us. He will allow whatever heartaches are necessary to cause us to see our need for him, so he can secure us for all time. He orchestrates our trials to produce beauty from ashes.

He wants us with him forever. That is how much he loves us. It is so far above and beyond our selfish human love that we can barely comprehend his passion. Yet there it is.

Look into Jesus’ eyes. Let him in.

 

Photos licensed by Creative Commons. Featured Image: Big Heart of Art, 1000 Visual Mashups, qthomasbower via Compfight. “Desert Soul” by Rend Collective, a northern Irish band.