Many messes + repentance = my story of God's redemption.
Have you ever done something that you didn’t want to do, just because you wanted to prove or stick it to someone else? Have you ever resisted God’s love and presence because you didn’t want to be vulnerable or humble? Well, I have done both of these things — and on a grand scale.
I was thinking recently about a church I visited once. I wasn’t particularly thrilled to attend, partly because of negative thinking (check my last post), but also partially because I felt forced to attend. In retrospect I wasn’t forced to attend, I was asked to attend because it was very important. It was a perspective issue.
Now, I ended up going to the church service, but bitterness and pride had already set in. I went in with a closed mind. It was game over before the game even started — that’s a terrible mental state to be in. I had no reason, other than my own stubbornness, not to embrace what was in front of me.
During the worship portion of the service, I couldn’t help but feel the incredibly thick and tangible presence of God. I saw some amazing things and I wanted to burst. I wanted to burst out in praise, I wanted to burst out in tears, and I wanted to embrace the love that God was extending to me in that moment. I wanted to raise my arms and shout a hallelujah!
… but wait. It can’t be like that! That’s not allowed! “I don’t want to be here anyway! I won’t give the satisfaction of my enjoyment to the people around me. I won’t let those who encouraged me to attend win. I won’t let you beat me God!” I said to myself in poisonous stubbornness and pride.
I once heard a story while I was travelling in Germany about pride. It was presented with this analogy: What do you do when you are hiking on a trail and out of no where get bitten by a poisonous snake? You have 30 minutes left to live and the hospital with the antidote is a 20 minute run away. Do you chase the snake, attempt to catch it, and have the possible satisfaction of killing it — at the cost of your life? Or do you let it go, release the snake to seek its next victim, and run for your life to the local hospital?
See, I write this cause I believe we all have had this experience in our own way. We have put up the stubborn gates in our hearts and we have let our pride overwhelm what is best for us. I let my pride and stubbornness become ingrained sin and I let it destroy what God was trying to sincerely bless me with — one of those blessings being His presence.
There is beauty in all of this, though, because God is greater and more powerful than any stubbornness or pride He encounters. It’s not that He will make it easy on us, but He wants the best for us more than we want the best for ourselves. God is the ultimate cleaner and there is no mess too big — I can attest to that in my past, in my present, and through the testimonies I’ve been blessed to hear.
Jacob (Genesis 32:22-32) was one stubborn dude. He personally wrestled with God all night, much like I did within my spirit. He was unrelenting, so God did what God sometimes has to do — He busted Jacob’s hip. Jacob went on to be called Israel and I think the rest is self-explanatory.
I love this. God never gives up on us. Sometimes He’ll knock out that hip, but when we let go of the stubbornness and we let go of the pride, God’s true power will shine through us. It’s a tough lesson to learn, but it’s simply not worth chasing the snake, or in my case, “the win.”