Thank you for wanting to know more; a hungry soul seeks to be satisfied, a searching soul seeks answers, and an empty soul seeks fulfillment. The LORD is all of this, and more. He is able to nourish our souls, answer our questions, and fulfill us with His presence. There are some foundational truths we must understand first. Many times we come to GOD because we are hurting, fearful, struggling etc., our jobs could be in danger, our marriages and our relationships could be on the edge, or our kids are making wrong choices. We could have suffered the loss of a loved one, just been told we have cancer or that a love one has only months to live etc. There are many things that affect us, weaken us and cause us to think about The LORD (GOD and LORD are synonymus). What I am about to say is not easy for me to say, especially when you may be hurting. I will use my own struggles in my marriage to speak for me. Early in my marriage I was not a good husband, I was critical. I was critical of myself, and hence critical of my wife. After several years of this, divorce was becoming a way out for my wife. As a last attempt I asked her to go to counseling with me and she agreed. In counseling the pastor tried hard, but words could not change the root of why I was critical. However, in the last moments the pastor did say something that rocked my boat. He said I was not allowing GOD to love me for just me, I was trying to earn His approval through my actions. Now having already been a Christian for several years, I thought that he was way off and that our meeting was a waste. I pretty much figured that the next day my wife was going to file for a divorce. We drove home, it seemed forever, we didn’t say much, and I was mad at the pastor and GOD, basically saying “Don’t You care about me and our marriage; is this what You want?” Before I could finish the next thought, The LORD broke into my thoughts, and it is just as clear to me now as it was then, and it still brings tears. He simply said, ”He is right, you are not letting Me love you as you are, you are always trying to prove you’re worthy of My love.” When GOD speaks to the human soul, the soul crumbles, and in that moment I had all my motives and reasons for being the “perfect Christian soldier” revealed to me. We want to be loved for something, that’s human, but it’s not that way with the Lord. There is no amount of good deeds we can do to make Him love us more, or conversely, there is no amount of sin we can do to make Him love us less. The Bible says, “While we were yet sinners (in rebellion) Jesus died for us”, He was sacrificed for our sins. His death satisfied the righteous judgement of God’s Holiness . It is like the judge, who one day was forced to render a verdict on his own son; a son that had gone wayward and murdered a man. The judge pronounced the death sentence on him, then stepping away from his podium, taking off his garment, and leaving his gavel, he stepped down. In speaking to the amazed audience he said, as judge I have honored my position and the law, convicting my son fully for his crime; now as his father I will take his place, and my life will become an atonement (to pay in full) for his sins. I will die so he may live….
Once home I went and closed myself in a study room. Alone with GOD, I prayed “GOD, I am a wreck, I feel so worthless, destroying the only thing that mattered to me… If You want to love this wreck, I need Your love, please forgive me for my many sins, and teach me accept Your love for me, and then to give it away”. What happened after that I can’t explain, but my heart changed, it filled with joy, peace, and a knowing that I was loved for me, just as I was, with all my imperfections. I had not known this kind of peace; the striving was gone, the heaviness that I had grown so accustomed to, the guilt, it all left, and for once I felt free. Free to live, to laugh, to accept my short comings, work through my insecurities, and to give that grace to others, first and foremost to Lisa. I stepped out of that room a changed man, into a room with a damaged wife, who had stopped believing that I would ever be different. It took three years to destroy my marriage, and it was seven years till I saw the joy in her eyes that I had seen when we first took our vows; two years for every year I hurt her, and then one more. It’s funny (not ha,ha) in the Bible numbers mean something, and seven is the number for completion. So now I have been married to Lisa 29 years. I love her dearly and we continue to work on our weaknesses by God’s Grace; and combined with two daughters with their own weaknesses, there have been some very challenging times (as I am sure you have had). Yet the man that kneeled and cried out for a love he didn’t possess, found that LOVE to be TRUE (for He is TRUE), and found a strength to not only work on his weaknesses, but to extend love and grace to the family he cared for as well.
Now here is the reason why I shared this with you. Lisa could have walked out, there was no guarantee that she was going to stay. If she had decided to pack her bags and leave, did God fail? We come to God to “fix” our problems, and if He doesn’t…, do we stop believing? This is not Faith, this is us in a very dark moment having tried everything else; we reach for God as a last hope. Can God use hardships to bring us to Him? Sure He can and does, and He did with me, but here is my point. God sent His Son Jesus Christ to the Cross for our sins (an amazing truth) and on that Cross He bore ALL our sins, receiving the full wrath of God’s judgement on Sin. On the Cross Jesus said several very specific things. One of those statements was, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (He was interceding for us, His role as High Priest for mankind). Another one took place toward the end when He cried out, no longer using the term Father but instead “My GOD, My God, why have You forsaken me?”. God the Father, for the first and last time, separated Himself from God the Son, while He hung there taking on our sin, and He died. …think about that. The Lord didn’t die for my marriage, He didn’t die because I lost a job, He didn’t die so that my kids would do the right thing, etc. He died for my sin, for your sin, and to restore us back unto the Father. That is why He died. We are separated from Him because of our sin, and He died to bring us “home” to the Father, to grant us fellowship with Him and to give us the gift of Eternal life, that is why He went to the Cross. We must come to terms with that, we must do spiritual business with God. Once we are restored unto Him, we become His child, and the concerns of the child, become the concerns of the Parent. So you’ve got problems, stresses, etc., talk to your Dad, for He gave it all for you, and will He not also come to your aid? I will end in a prayer,
Father thank you for this time, I pray Your words would reach our (my) heart(s). I ask that through my life others will see your Grace and Power to heal and to save. Forgive us (me) of our (my) sins. I accept You Lord Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and Your death on the cross as atonement for my sins. I bend my knee to You, and ask that You would now fill me with Your Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Comfort and Strength. Thank You, teach me to understand Your Bible, to love to spend time reading it, to attend a church that preaches from it, and that teaches me to worship You in song and in prayer. Let me now live my life to honor You, for You and You alone are worthy. Amen.