Why is it so easy to tune out the voice of our Creator, but so hard to ignore the words of a stranger? Why do we distrust the love and hope Christ offers and instead run into the arms of the deceiver? Why do we listen to the negative voices and discard every voice that speaks life and truth into our lives?
Because we trust in the reality we see with our eyes and hear with our ears. In a world so overrun with evil and suffering, we become accustomed to the negative voices, so much so that our realities become warped. The denial of the husband next door becomes the truth his wife hears after spending another night alone. The teasing of the little boy down the road becomes the truth that leads to the untimely loss of so-young a life. The unwavering standard of beauty becomes the truth that every girl at school tries to meet, and-more often than not-destroys her life. The promise of relief and escape becomes the truth for the crack addict across town, even when the last time did not bring his promise.
We believe what we see. We take it all in and form our beliefs. The pictures in front of our eyes become the pictures ingrained in our minds. You are what you repeatedly see. You are what you repeatedly do. You are what you repeatedly hear.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
We were not meant to live bound by our warped view of truth. Our actions were not supposed to become the definition of us. There was supposed to be freedom and love and hope and joy. There was supposed to be security and value and truth. We were not meant to slowly fade into our addictions or “hang ups”. We were not meant to take on the definition of a word not meant for us. We were meant to live free, as we were created to be. We were meant to listen to the voice of truth and let that become our reality.
The same voice that spoke life into you is the same voice standing in the crowds, cheering your name. He created you with a purpose, and as long as you’re still breathing, He continues to see purpose in you. You matter more than You think.
There was a time I didn’t believe I had a purpose. A very long time it was, to be completely honest. I believed that I was born a mistake and would die a mistake. I believed that God had let me slip through the plan and decided to let me flounder about on land until I had had enough. I became so hopeless that giving up seemed the only logical thing to do. So I gave up. I turned myself over to death, thinking that it would save me in the end. And it did, for awhile. As long as I was purposely inviting the pain in, it didn’t hurt so bad. In fact, pain became normal. Heartbreak became something not only expected, but relied on. I invited in the hurt and slammed the door in hope’s face. Eventually the darkness took over, and I started praying again to a God I didn’t believe in. I prayed everyday that it would be my last, but it never was. And because of that, I gave up on God for good. In my mind, getting rid of me would have done a lot of people good. I was obviously a mistake, so why didn’t He fix it?
He did fix it. Just not in the way I had planned. He miraculously worked in my life through all sorts of people and circumstances. Even in my resistance, He began to draw me near. I didn’t have the reverence to give. I didn’t have the theology to impress Him with. All I had was my broken life and my anger at who He was.
But none of that mattered to God. Despite my reluctance He loved me and relentlessly pursued me. He met me where I was at and didn’t expect me to fake it. I gave Him a piece of my mind on many an occasion. I cried over the same hurts over and over again. I doubted in His name, turned my back on His grace, and walked away from His love. Yet He came back again and again.
I don’t know where you are in your walk with God. Maybe you are like I was- not believing that He’s there, not believing that He cares. Can I tell you something? He is there, and He cares more about you than you will ever know.
In my darkest days I thought God was keeping me alive just for the heck of it. Now I see that He had a plan. He had a purpose. He could see beyond my pain into the healing. He could see the hope.
The darkness is not what overwhelms us; it’s the fear of what may be in the dark that causes us to proceed with caution. To me, God was darkness. He was the unknown enemy of my life. But it wasn’t long before He opened my eyes and revealed to me the shadows I had been sitting in for some time. The shadows of broken dreams, broken emotions, and broken lives. The shadows of my eating disorder, my depression, and my brokenness sought to take over and destroy my life, but God had other plans.
In the opening paragraph of John, Jesus is described as “the light [that] shines in the darkness”. By His light we are able to see truth. Before the light came in, I wasn’t able to see the darkness I was sitting in. It seemed right. It seemed to be truth because I was living in it. But when Jesus came in and illuminated the room, I was able to see things as they really were. I was able to see that the “truth” I had once so fondly grasped was in fact a lie.
And once the room was illuminated, I can’t go back and sit in darkness without remembering the truth. Is it possible to go back? Yes. But it won’t be the same. You will know that what you are living is a lie. You will know that your thoughts and beliefs are not reality. You will know that you are only tasting the imitation.
The imitation may look good on the outside. It may taste good on that first bite. But the more you taste, the more you will see that something is missing. It will be like drinking diet soda when you’re used to regular. It’s fake, artificial, and not meant to last. It will not quench the thirst or solve the problem.
That’s why we need the real stuff.
Like Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “…whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14) Jesus is the real deal. He won’t leave you thirsty. He won’t leave you wanting more. He won’t leave you in the dark.
He will only leave you satisfied, filled, and walking in the light.