It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on here. There’s so much that has happened, and it’s hard to find the right words to describe and express the changes and break-throughs. It’s hard to find words that are worthy enough to enable you to understand exactly how I’ve come to realise the awesomeness of my God.
I have to admit, I doubt a lot. I’m a sceptic and it’s meant that I’ve struggled with so much teaching within the church. It’s partly to do with my background, and partly to do with the fact that the church is not united. We are united in Christ, but when it comes to the small things that make a church what it is, we are divided on pretty much every aspect. How can it be right that we are of different mindsets when it comes to homosexuality, women speaking in the church, praying, even how we perceive God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? There is a lot more complication within the church and its man-made denominations than we, as Christians, like to admit. And these complications have thrown me. God is good, and I feel like He’s used, and still is using my doubts and scepticisms to deepen my understanding of Him and what He wants the church to be like. It’s making me more confident in my faith and enabling me to become more Christ-like in all my daily situations.
It’s funny how I am in a place where I can look back and see how God allowing me to be hurt and feel pain that I thought would cripple me inside, has in fact helped me in my understanding of the person God created me to be. It’s as if He’s held a mirror up to me, and said – this is who you are. You may think that these traits I’ve given to you are weaknesses. You may feel like they are the things that bring you down and make you useless, when in fact, I have placed these within you because they are valuable to the furthering of my kingdom.
I cannot say that I’ve come to this realisation on my own. God has placed people around me who have been so precious in reflecting that back to me. He’s broken relationships and bound them together again, He’s allowed us to inflict wounds on each other only to heal them with His own power. He’s made the impossible possible and has created something new from the ashes that were our own fault. And in it all, He’s called me to be bolder and stronger than ever before. He’s calling to each of us to step up from our self-hatred and inferiority, and to be true to the people He’s made us to be.
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7
That was hard for me when I was in a place where I thought that I was alone in my suffering. We can be surrounded by people who love us and care for us, and yet so alone in our suffering because those around us cannot grasp the conflicts inside us, and do not know that the best thing they can do for a wounded child of God is to simply be there for them. I’ve come to understand that when we pray for blessings on those we love, very often we are that blessing. If we are to be the body of Christ, we need to pray and then act on that prayer where possible.
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. – 1 Corinthians 12:12
The greatest challenge as a Christian is to not allow ourselves to become infected by the world’s attitude. And even if we are not completely united as a church, we still serve the one same God. We cannot let ourselves be deceived – when Jesus cried “It is finished”, God’s plan of salvation was truly fulfilled. But in order to experience that salvation, and to understand the true meaning of healing and God’s powerful blessings upon our lives, we need to be prepared to go on that journey in the first place. We need to be prepared for the toughest of all journeys, where we acknowledge pain and loss as something that will reveal more and more of who God is. We need to be strong, and not be afraid to question one another and ourselves.
In him [Jesus] and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. – Ephesians 3:12
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – James 1:22
Where we are prepared to humble ourselves, we will also be prepared to admit that we may be wrong. For someone who is stubborn like me, that has been a difficult lesson. But funnily enough, it’s given me more freedom to explore my own faith. By listening, we learn, and as we learn, we grow and mature.
Obviously, my journey is far from finished – for as long as I’m alive at least. But from here, I can say that my struggles have come full circle. When God works wonders, He doesn’t fix things straight away. He loves life – He is life, and life is growth and blossoming, but also maturing and developing during the winter seasons. He gave us ears to hear and a mind to think. The very things that caused me to stumble – my sensitivity, my questioning, are in fact things which may well be used in growing closer to God and in blessing those around me.
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. – 1 John 4:1
What if we started listening to what the other has to say? What if we became aware of the value of our mere presence to those who are hurting and broken, instead of trying to look for the solution to a problem that only God knows about and only He can fix? What if we allowed people to question us and lead us back to the right path? What if ‘dying to ourselves’ means to lay down the stubbornness and the selfishness within us, and to take up the confidence and self-worth which is our blessing and at the very heart of our salvation?
I’ve far from reached the perfect summit of being a Christian. Believing is to live and to know that God’s works are not built on emotion, or obvious power, or even miraculous signs. But He is there in our lives, if we choose to look, and see, and believe.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:12