I’ve been hit with a lot the past few weeks.
Guilt. Struggle. Pain. Depression.
But out of all those emotions, the emotion I felt most deeply was loneliness. I felt as if God had forgotten me. I couldn’t hear his voice telling me what I should do; I couldn’t feel his presence. Nothing. And that scared me. It scared me to think that I may have been abandoned by my one and only Savior. I knew in my head that he would never leave me, especially in my darkest times, but in my heart that’s what it felt like and I felt it so strongly that I almost lost hope.
Maybe it would be better to understand a little where I was coming from. I felt useless. Like, why would anyone need me? Why would God need me? I wanted to grow into someone better; I wanted to learn new things. I wanted to mature. What I didn’t realize is that I was looking toward the future and not focusing on the now.
I remember just a few nights ago, praying and asking that God would change me. That he would help me grow into the person he wants me to be. That I would do everything I could to glorify him. And it’s not bad to ask that, right? But I think what I didn’t realize is that God uses all of our circumstances for good; he uses the now to change us. Because what happened the next morning is what really got me. There’s this sin in my life that crops up every once in awhile and I always feel awful after doing it. I usually feel so disgusting and each time I do it, I hate myself more and more. Except…this time was a little different. It happened. I fell. I cried. And I repented. That’s usually what always happens after I give in to my temptation, except that I felt a new determination. To fight my struggle. To go at it, kicking and screaming. But that’s not the key here, oh no. What I felt for the first time in a very long time was forgiveness. For myself. And in that moment I realized that God has never left me. He’s always been there for me, even when I felt lost and alone. Even when I believed I was stumbling blind in the middle of nowhere, having no idea what to do with myself and wondering how someone like me could be used for him. When I felt like my situation was completely hopeless and when I couldn’t wait for the day that I overcame everything, completely.
God turns our nowheres into now here.
When we think we’re lost. When we think we’re alone. When we think we’re nothing, he’s still here.
God gave me forgiveness before I even knew what forgiveness was. God was walking beside me while I was still stumbling by his side. He has never left my side and I don’t think he’s going to stop any time soon. My pastor said today that we need to be “content without becoming complacent.” In other words, there is nothing wrong with looking toward the future, but the now is where God works in and through us. If we’re always looking toward the future, we’ll never be content with the now.
I am where God wants me to be right now. I am the person he wants me to be right now. God is working through me, little by little, whether I realize it or not. God has turned my nowhere into now here.
He is still here. Because he has never left you.
Then, come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.
(P.S. When they post the sermon my pastor did today online, I’m going to post it here because it explains this concept a lot better than I did. It truly was an amazing sermon and something a lot of people need to hear including me.)