These last few weeks, my church family has been in a teaching series called 11,000 Days – A Beautiful Struggle. It began with our lead pastor sharing his journey to give us a look at, a vulnerable look as to where he came from in his 30 years (11,000 days) walking with Christ. Along the way, we heard some other awesome testimonies from people within our church body on their own lives. It has been a revealing look not just at how God touched each of these awesome people, but also how each one of our stories has significance and matters as one part of God’s larger, epic story.
This past Sunday, a few more people from our church family shared in short snippets, a timeless truth that they have discovered in their own personal journey. At the end, we were challenged on our own to sit down and write out some timeless truths that have been huge in our own journeys. As any of you know that follows my blog, I love to write. My writing has been a way to not just share, but to take some of what would be my own personal journaling and put out there things I think about. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I am going to take some a little bit to share some of my own timeless truths that God has revealed to me on my journey.
First, I look at my journey in two parts. On the day I am writing this, it has been 1,501 days since I first opened up God’s Word and began to read it daily. September 22, 2011. For the first 1,227 days, my life was all about learning. Taking it one step at a time, I was on a journey to learn about God on a deeper level than I had ever known. One thing that was significant about most of this timeframe is that I did most of this leg of my journey on my own. I was venturing out of 2 years of darkness in my own life finding some sense of meaning after my Dad’s death. I reference that a lot, but it was a defining point for me. During this time, it was about absorbing what I could and then process it over time.
The last 274 days was about complete transformation. Standing in the snow filled mountains of Colorado, in the heart of winter I completely surrendered my life, finally. Not out of a sense of duty or the right thing to do, but because I knew Christ was changing my heart and I could not go another day of my life not locked into Him. I wrote about this journey a couple months back, comparing it to that of the prodigal son. In 2011, I began to start my journey home, like the prodigal son who was broken and lost. In the mountains of Colorado, God saw me coming, met me there and embraced me, like the father meeting the prodigal son. It was on from that day.
So in this 1,501 day journey, there are some timeless truths that God has cemented in my heart. The first of these is that God has never given up on me, just as He has never given up on you. You may have seen me reference this a couple of times on my blog, but while in Virginia for school, I put together something called a Spiritual Life Map, where I drew out a timeline of my life and marked high and low points of my life and points where God’s hands were there. What I discovered in this exercise is that God never once gave up on me. He was pursuing me from the get go. Even when I was turned away and living life for myself and living behind the fig leaf of my false self, He still pursued me. Even when I was lost and broken and questioning His goodness after we lost Dad, He still pursued me. In fact, He used that pull me out of the depths of myself to start me on the journey home.
He never gave up on me. That can honestly be seen as such a cliché statement. Oh sure, God never gave up on me. Let me tell you something. This timeless truth is relevant to us all. Just look at Scripture. It is a 66 book love letter of God showing that He never once gave up on us. 3 chapters into the story, man blew it. We were fallen and in sin and lost, through each story, from Noah, to Abraham, to Moses, to Joshua, to Ruth, to David, to Jesus, are story after story and through the ultimate invasion and rescue with Jesus, are examples of how God has pursued us from the very beginning.
It’s so easy in this life for us to give up on God; to just turn our backs for any little anything. Sometimes it’s through traumatic circumstances, other times it’s because we’ve become dazed, cynical, or burned by religion. So we look at the world we have surrounding us today. I was writing about this in my counseling studies. So much brokenness. So much disorder in the world and so many that have completely turned from God because of their own circumstances, no matter the reason. Yet, God is there always. Never once turning his back and giving up on us, even when we give-up and turn away from Him. The suffering we encounter, God uses as a means to bring about our healing and restoration. Trust me. He did it to me. Broke me down and then lifted me up to the new and real me. God never gave up on me and he will never give up on you.
I could honestly go on and on forever and the funny thing is, my journey is still so new. My journey since my full surrender is even fresher, yet I’ve learned so much in this short time and I know God will reveal so much more over the course of my life. That being said, I have one more timeless truth to share. This truth came at the start of the last 274 days of my journey. That timeless truth is I, make that we, cannot do this alone. If you recall, I wrote that the first 1,227 days I spent walking alone. I attended church occasionally; I talked with my family about faith, occasionally. Actually, my wife and I would sometimes argue about certain things regarding faith, because I was going to convince her that I was right, even when many times, I still didn’t know. I would just buy into things that sounded good. Otherwise, most of the time, it was a solo journey of reading, some journaling and writing, and studying on my own. I was going to figure this out. You see the pattern there. It was about me, me, me.
Then on January 21st, one week before my Colorado trip, I was sitting in our men’s Bible study and we were talking about Psalm 51. The beautiful thing about our church family is that it is all about relationship and connection. There was talk about connecting and doing life with others. The question was asked during the time there if there were any of us that do not have people we walk with in the faith. The Holy Spirit pierced me that night and my hand went up. I knew I had been a lone ranger for so long. It played into my personality well and unfortunately was beginning to resonate into the personalities of my family. I knew I had to change my life and hopefully would infect change into the home.
The first guy to throw his arms around me was a brother named Russell. It was huge moment for me. From there, the connections have just grown more and more, from my church family to the men I met in Colorado and still connect with. I firmly believe God used that night as a stepping stone to what He was about to do to my life the following week. There was so much spiritual warfare I was contending with trying to keep me from going and this was almost the catalyst to say, “yep…you’re ready.”
I cannot do this alone. It’s such a huge thing for me now. I get to connect and dialogue now with some real men of God now and it’s been tremendous for me and my family as well. I look to Scripture when I think of the importance of this. We see fellowship and men doing life in circles all through Scripture. Jesus is the prime example. He took under his wing 12 ragamuffins who were from all walks of life. Men who had really no clue about what they were really in for. But Jesus walked with them and disciple them and taught them. They grew together as a tight group of buddies. We all need those connections in our life. I just wish it didn’t take me 36 years to figure this out.
I don’t have this all figured out. I still work daily to get out of my own shell to put myself out there to connect with others in fellowship and discipleship. I am a natural born introvert from a family of introverts, married to an introvert, raising 3 introverts. I have my work cut out for me. That being said, I will part with one final timeless truth that I believe is true for all of us who choose to do so. I (you) can break the cycle. It starts with me (you).
“Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can.” – D.L. Moody