Saturday, February 16, 2008

He is With Me

This week I am so grateful to know that God is with me. It was a week that I needed Him to carry me, and to know that even if I did not know the answers, or even where I was going, that He was with me, and it was enough.
I was once so confident that I knew. That I knew Him well, understood His thoughts, His feelings; heard His voice. Now I know that even if I know Him so little, even if I know Him in a way which does Him disservice, that He will never leave me.
As I look back over the years of my life, the many movie scenes that there are to replay, I can see one thing. I can see that He was there. It was His presence I felt when singing to the rafters of the Mennonite church. There was Something there, something bigger than myself, that filled the place above us with a spiritual sort of scent. Something you could almost catch a whiff of, but never really fix a name to.
It was His presence that made the moon shine so bright those nights when I slipped out after dark, His voice that made the quiet of the lonely night seem so still, so pressing. It seemed that the night could wrap me in its arms and touch me, and yet He was there. All my life. Like a beautiful face, expectant, waiting, listening.
He, would listen for me? Wait for me?
It was His spirit in me that wrote the songs, and His marvelous song that brightened each star at night. His presence kept me, protected me through terrible times that I thought I wouldn't live through. If you've found this blog because of a depression that you are going through, then you know what I mean. He saw me throught times that no human being should ever have to see. He was the Invisible Wall that kept me from going over the edge. And yet He waited.
He never forced Himself on me, never condemned me, only waited. He offered me his help, did all He could to guide my life, and then in one strategically arranged moment, the invitation came.
I was turning 22 that fall. I had been through 2 years of serious depression- the worst 2 years of my life! I had gone to prayer counselling as a last resort- a last chance at life. It wasn't hopelessness- I did believe it would work. But I also knew that I had tried everything else. This was it. This was all I had left.
And He was with me. I was a diver standing on the edge of a cliff, but I knew He was beside me. And the invitation was given- "did I want to follow Jesus for the rest of my life".
I knew in that moment that if I turned away from the life of sin that I had been leading, it would mean that forever, I would follow Christ. I had never really had that understanding before. I had gone to church since I was a pipsqueak- I believed in God. I had accepted Jesus as my Savior at a White Heart concert when I was 14. I knew the story: Jesus died on a cross for my sins, so I could go to heaven. I knew that.
But in that moment, the invitation went one layer deeper. It was as if my life stretched out before me, and I had to know that nowhere on that path would I diverge. Nowhere for the next 10 decades would I choose another path. This was the only way.
Even though I had chosen His path when I was 14, I had also chosen others. When I read the verse about honoring my father and mother, I was sure that it was just too hard. God couldn't have meant that verse for me, for my parents. Sorry God, I just can't do that.
When as a young adult I knew that His plan was for me to marry just one man, and to save my body entirely for him: for our wedding night, I chose a different path. We knew that we should wait till we were married, but Jed wasn't ready to get married, and I wasn't ready to give him up. I wanted our relationship the way I wanted it. Not the way that God wanted it.
So I "knew" Him, but I didn't really know Him. Didn't understand who He was. And let's face it, I knew and loved myself better.
But on that day in 1997, I saw the offer much more clearly. Would I enter into a covenant with Him, commit the rest of my life to Him, to live His way, and never choose another path?
I knew then that I would. I did. I knew that there was no other way.
Did I quit sinning? Have I lived the exemplary, visionary life that I saw stretching before me on that day? No. I haven't lived it perfectly, or sometimes even well. But there is a difference now. Now I don't quit repenting. I know now that I just don't know. That I was so very proud. And I know that He is with me, for all my failing and falling, He has never even backed off. He loves me, and He will never leave me.
Can you see His presence in your life? Would you like to see it now? Ask Him. He is right there.

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