If someone saved my life, I would never be able to see them the same way again. I would live in respect and awe of them and be unable to treat them as I would any other friend or acquaintance. I’m sure that for every holiday they would receive a lengthy card and possibly a gift from me. Stemming from this gratitude would outpour a life of giving back and loving––not out of grudging necessity, but just because of what they did.
This sounds perfectly normal, but when I realised that God did that exact action of saving our lives on the cross two thousand years ago, I had to take a step back and go oh. Clearly my response had been somewhat lacking.
For me, personally, not only has God saved my life spiritually on the cross, He has also saved my life physically from healing me from a terrible disease, so it rather hammers home the realisation that I really haven’t been doing enough in return.
For the longest time I would tell myself every day that this was going to be the day that I did my quiet time. Sometimes this would be true, but most of the time it wasn’t. And when I did manage to get to my room and do it, most of the time was spent apologising and feeling guilty about not having done it for the many days or even weeks before. For some reason it wasn’t because I couldn’t find time that I neglected spending time with God; it was a certain ‘I don’t know what to say to God’ feeling. Also, I knew I was going to feel guilty.
It kind of circled back to church, where every week during worship I would also feel guilty, understandably so. But I didn’t exactly know how to amend that. My prayer (when I remembered, ha) was always just, “God, help me to love you more.” I knew in my head I should be loving God, but somehow I didn’t feel the connection even though he had already saved my life and done such a work in me. In short, I felt extremely guilty. I wanted to love God more, but I didn’t know how to.
I always find song lyrics that say things about ‘God is chasing after you’ incredibly cheesy and more like romantic love songs on the radio than actual worship songs. But I guess it’s true, isn’t it? God was chasing me, trying to get my attention as I stayed huddled in the shadows of my distraction and self-imposed guilt.
There were two incidents that really struck a chord in me:
The first was honestly a story that should be told on its own, so I’lll give the TL;DR version here and make another post about the whole thing another time. In short, one Sunday God used a poem that I had written almost unthinkingly months back to impact a woman who had gone through a miscarriage. I didn’t even know what was happening; it all went by in such a blur. But later so many people came up to me to affirm the poem and tell me about the story of the woman who had needed it. I was stunned and honestly just so not expecting any of that.
The second incident happened during my church’s annual children’s camp. One night the children’s ministry teachers had planned a time for the volunteers, teachers and parents to just go out and pray for the children, over their lives. The thought of this made me feel extremely uncomfortable. I always feel uncomfortable when I think about praying for people out loud, simply because I have no idea what to say. But I supposed I had to be a good volunteer (ha) and do it. My two younger sisters were both in the number of kids, and at first I didn’t really want to go and pray for either of them because I’m weird and extremely awkward around my siblings when we talk about serious stuff (is this an asian thing? possibly). But I decided to just go over and pray for my sister. The moment I put my hand on her shoulder I started feeling extremely shaken and I knew I couldn’t start praying right then because I was going to cry. I ended up crying a lot, and so did she. It was the Jesus tears. Hahaha. I prayed for her very emotionally and gave her a hug. I could tell she was very impacted by the encounter, and it might even have been the first time God encountered her like that, so it was amazing that I got to be a part of that. I also prayed for another of the girls who apparently also ended up crying. All in all the initiative was very successful and I was also quite unprepared for that.
After each one of these incidents, I questioned. I didn’t understand how this was happening when I had drifted so far away from God.
This is what I wrote in my journal after the poem:
Look—why on earth did God choose to use me? Why does God keep letting things like this happen to me when I keep going away from Him? How am I even worthy to go up and declare things for Him? I don’t get it. I’m just amazed at that.
But it also begs the question, doesn’t it? The question: if these things can happen when I’m not even super close to God, what marvellous things will there be when I move close to Him?
I didn’t write anything after the second incident, but I know I had the same thoughts playing in my head over and over. Just because these things could happen when I wasn’t so close to God didn’t mean that I should just go ‘okay’ and accept that. It meant that I should push for more, for greater, for beyond. I can’t even begin to imagine what’s going to happen next.
Right now I’ve just finished a fast, and God has been doing incredible things in my life. I’m closer to Him than I think I’ve ever been before, and it’s just been one week of fasting, praying, worshipping. I’m learning to surrender. I’m learning to trust. I’m learning to lay it all before Him and let Him do His work in my life in His time. He is aligning me even in this time, and I have never been more aware of His constant presence in my life than now. There’s just such an amazing love and overflow as I spend time worshipping Him; now I look forward to when I can do my quiet time.
It’s just been one week.
I can’t wait to see what He’s going to do through me next.