After taking part in Secret Church on Good Friday, I again felt the “unsure of my salvation” feeling. I had the feeling that I was missing something. That there was supposed to be a huge dramatic difference and I should have had this grand experience when I came to faith in Jesus. This has been a struggle for me in the past mainly because I have been rather complacent in my relationship with Christ for the past couple years or so – steadily drifting farther, then closer, then farther. The proverbial one step closer, two steps back.
It is hard for me to look back at my moment of salvation and I envy those who remember their “rebirth date” and can tell “the story.” I was 7. All I remember is wanting to go where momma and daddy would go. But then came 12. I again don’t remember the moment or the story, but I DO remember the change. Wanting to tell everyone about my best friend Jesus and how they too could know him and be his friend. This gave birth into an uber-believer high school career when I was God’s and I made sure anyone who even looked my way knew it.
But after years of complacency, I began to question the faith I had once professed so faithfully. Was God there? Did Jesus die? Am I saved? Or was this all a lovely fairy tale told by sheltering parents and church friends? After a summer riddled with doubt and fear, I came to the conclusion that I had seen God work in my own life and in the lives around me and I could not deny my own experience, even if I could try to deny what others told me of theirs. But still, here and there doubts would surface.
I would run, broken, to my husband only to be reminded that it was Jesus’ arms I needed to run to. No one could answer my questions but the one who gave me life. Once again, after Secret Church, I ran to him and we talked about the “experience” thing. He reminded me that within the simulcast when pastor David Platt had spoken on the point of regeneration, he specifically pointed out that this is hard for those of us who come to Christ at a young age. We looked at the questions to ask to examine your heart to see if you are in the faith. Questions like: Am I currently believing Christ for my salvation? Do I love like God loves? Am I obeying Christ and walking with him daily? I realized that I do believe, I do love (though not as readily as I should), I just hardly ever obey.
I was again broken. I know what God wants – what He deserves – is ALL of me. I have been tucking parts inside “my room” though. Hiding “my stuff” away from God and unconsciously stating that He cannot go there. One of the biggest things in “my room” is my classroom. It’s “my” domain. I have a boss, I have colleagues. They aren’t that friendly to faith-filled ideas. They talk politics constantly and cuss and “want a drink.” I can’t bring God there. It’s no place for Him. Right?
He gave me this job. It wasn’t posted, I didn’t apply. The principal called me one day, interviewed me another, and hired me the next. So, really, this is actually more God’s classroom than mine. He’s the one who placed me here – for a reason. He gave me this job – this opportunity – and if I don’t use it, He can take it away. I immediately asked my husband to pray with me.
“God, I’m so sorry for doubting you when you are constantly proving yourself over and over again. I’m sorry for doubting your salvation when I’ve felt and seen the change. I’m sorry for hiding and hoarding things that I should be surrendering to you. Come into every corner of every room of my life. I want you to have it ALL! Keep transforming me, give me power and boldness to obey you and follow you closer daily. Be LORD over ALL of my life! I do love you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen!”
Yesterday was the first time in a long time that I didn’t feel compelled to “pray the prayer” right along with the pastor “just in case” or for any other reason. Instead, I thanked God for His gift of salvation and prayed for Him to work on the hearts of everyone else there.
The road ahead is to be long, I fear, “but there’s God!” as my friend Jonelle says. I have this worry that, since I am such a creature of habit and routine (and have such a fickle memory), I’ll soon fall right back into living for me in my own strength and taking back God’s rightful place from Him. I imagine myself like the student in The Dead Poet Society who finally finds his voice in poetry and then the teacher cups the student’s face in his hands, looks him square in the eye, and says “Don’t you forget this!” I want to tell myself each time I encounter God, “Don’t you forget this!”
I find myself REALLY wanting to paint an Ebenezer wall in Spar Oom some time over summer break. In 2 Samuel, the Israelites built an altar called “ebenezer,” meaning “stone of help,” to mark how God had helped them to make it to that point. That scripture gave me the idea to paint a picture of a stone altar on the wall of a room in my house so that I could write “the story” on each stone of different moments when I know that God has been there for me – for those times when I forget.
After taking this new stand, today I didn’t have any great God-talk moments with anyone, but I have been convicted that I need to do my job as to the Lord, not to my boss. I was also convicted to drive the speed limit this morning, even if it would make me late–and it did by a couple minutes (I left around 7:23), but I felt God was telling me to do it. I suppose I’ll need to leave even earlier from here out. I’ll probably take the highway instead of the country roads as well; I’m thinking it might be easier if the speed limit is actually 55 instead of 40.
Can arriving on time and driving the speed limit and doing your best at work really be obeying God through “good works prepared ahead of time for us to do”? dunno. Perhaps.
But even if not — God deserves it.