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Friday, September 11, 2015

An Open Life

 My mind flashes back to the Fall of 2011, and I can see her now: a 23-year-old young lady whose life was in shambles at the time and who struggled to find answers to the adversity she had faced. Where is God? she had asked so many times. How can I follow a God whose purposes seem to go against the message of love I've heard all my life? With great bitterness in her heart, her mind constantly ran with questions. Would the darkness ever leave? Could life come from such inner death?
 Earlier that summer, a friend had suggested that she read a book called, The Sovereignty of God.* She had picked it up (after years of seeing it on the shelf) only as a half-hearted way of staying current with the friend. Part way through, however, her world began to shake with the rumblings of truth. God began to speak…and a flicker of light started to shine in the dark chasms of her heart. Over the next several months, she would spend hours in her room every day, begging answers from a God she had grown distant towards. But slowly, He began to call her name through the pain and the confusion; He began to tell her that she was loved, valued, beautiful. He began to show her a meaning to life that she had never experienced before. He began to give her hope. The plastered smile that had long hidden pain began to shine grace…because Grace was all that she needed. And over time, she became open to it. And fully embraced it. It became her life…it became her message.
  Of course, that girl I see in my memory was me. Four years ago, my life didn't look anything like it does now. There was no purpose to it and, at times, I wished I could run from it because it only seemed to betray me time and time again. I was tired of going at it alone but I also was afraid to risk what it took to love and to live again after such pain.
And yet…as I look back, I see the beautiful picture of a merciful Savior who saw potential in me when I saw none; Who dared to see through my sin and shame and Who still loved me in spite of that. I see a God that chose me before the beginning of time and whose patient instruction helped me to eventually understand that. My problem was not that I didn't believe He existed or that I completely lost faith in His ability to work in the world, I just didn't understand how the King of the Universe would (and had) moved heaven and earth for me and my future redemption. I didn't get that the cross was meant for ME! That Grace had planned my rescue and renewal and all that was needed was for me to see it and believe it for myself. All that was needed was for me to become open to that Grace and fall into it completely!
 Each day since, my journey and struggle is the same: to see through to God and to acknowledge the ways He loves me, even on those days when I fail Him miserably. He has proven faithful when I have been faithless; He has become perfection for an imperfect work in progress who strives but still falls frequently. I am a walking example of the Miltonian thought: "majestic though in ruins" as I battle an old self with a now renewed mind. I cannot and should not forget the image of that girl I once was. I don't think God wants me to forget her either because that is my story. That is, more importantly, God's story. He has given me an open life. And, if he can give that to me, He can and will give that to any longing soul who seeks and desires it.
 Oh, sweet Grace that called my name! How can I not love and serve Thee all my days?!

*The Sovereignty of God by A. W. Pink