In my late 20’s, the relationship I had with God was very intimate. I had an intense desire to fully know Him and completely love Him. I was on fire for His Kingdom and nothing was going to stand in my way of doing everything I could to further it.
I can still remember the exact moment, almost 13 years ago, when I questioned three specific actions of ‘key players’ in the bible. First, how could Eve have listened to the serpent; second, how could Peter have denounced Jesus three times and the third question requires its own blog. I remember thinking to myself, ‘I would NEVER do that Lord!’
Pride is the ‘mother’ where all other sin is birthed…Mark Driscoll
It wasn’t too long after, that I naively believed I was above reproach, when sin entered my life. With it, came first hand knowledge of just how easy it is to listen to the soothing lies of Satan…sorry Eve.
Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Pro 16:18)
The sins were exposed; I repented, confessed them out loud (to God and the appropriate parties) and I am living proof that ‘the truth will set you free’ (John 8:32). Theologically, I knew my sins were forgiven through the mighty blood of Jesus…but mentally; I kept waiting for the moment when I finally felt worthy to be called ‘His’ again. I couldn’t come to terms with how badly I blew it and by not being able to do so, I could not forgive myself…sorry Peter.
Condemnation wasted no time ushering right in and hunkering down in my life over the next four years. That was ok by me because I felt I deserved it, to say the least, and society almost seemed to welcome it. Arthur W. Pink said, ‘Man’s own idea of sin is practically limited to what the world calls “crime”. Anything short of that man palliates as “defects,” “mistakes,” “infirmities,” etc. And even where sin is owned at all, excuses and extenuations are made for it”.’ I quickly learned how easy the world made it to buy into the lies of ‘the thief [who] comes only to steal, kill and destroy’ (John 10:10).
So at 34 years of life, I had come to the terms that I didn’t fully deserve Him in my life so I climbed into the luke warm waters of daily living, to die. Unbeknownst to me…God was not done with my life yet.
And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)
When I began to lose Jackson to autism, I hit my knees. I cried out to God, mostly begging and pleading with Him to intervene. My prayers were for healing and restoration — for all of us. When God did not answer any of my demands (which I conveniently referred to as prayers) — according to my timeline and expectations – I blamed myself and the past sins I committed…thank you, once again, condemnation.
The harder and tighter I tried to hold on to controlling every aspect of the autism journey, our lives, my life…the more quickly everything crumbled. On the outside, I appeared cool as a cucumber but on the inside, I was a complete hot mess. And it hurt; it hurt like no other pain I had ever felt before.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
I wanted so badly for God to step in, be my hero and save the day. He did, but I just couldn’t see it because I was focused on His intervention to be mighty, ‘Cable TV Style’ mighty. I was looking for Him to ride in and consume our trials in a strong wind…or an earthquake…or a fire.
‘And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”‘. (1 Kings 19:11-13)
I chew on this passage often. I love Elijah; he is one of my favorite “super heroes” of the Bible. In 1 Kings 17: 17-24, Elijah, by crying out to the Lord, raised the widow’s son from death. In 1Kings 18, Elijah called down fire from the Lord to consume the burnt offering, slaughtered the prophets of Baal and ended a three year drought ~ all through the power of God.
Fast forward to 1 Kings 19, where Jezebel threatened to kill Elijah. What do you think was the first thing Elijah did? Did he slay more prophets…did he call down more fire…did he cry out to God? Nope, none of the above, true story. Elijah “was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life” (1 Kings 19:3) and he didn’t stop there.
Our super hero from the old testament left his servant behind and kept running until he came to a broom tree. He sat down under it and ‘asked that he might die, saying, “it is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers”.’
Elijah was scared, depressed, alone and full of condemnation; I understand. I can relate to the trials of life being too much to bear and finding myself huddled in fetal position on the floor – under a broom tree.
We live in a fallen world where it is impossible not to sin and even more impossible to try and resist the human temptation to run from it. However; what is possible is the chance to be forgiven ~ for each and every ugly one of them.
God forgave me and still continues to forgive my sins because of what Jesus did. Period. End of story. Jesus chose to be firmly nailed to that cross for my sins and the only way to truly be set free from them is by choosing to cling to it.
I could have chosen to live my life in complete condemnation, huddled in fetal position, but that, my friends, was exactly what Satan was betting on. Instead, I chose to get over myself, run to the Cross and cling to my Savior!
Are you clinging to the cross or does Satan have you in luke warm waters, waiting to die?
Guest Blogger: Berly Tillman Sullivan
You can visit her blog at www.grievebreatheandbelieve.com