How did I get here? This place of knowing God’s love for me isn’t conditional. Of viewing Him as “Abba*.” Of knowing I’m accepted, forgiven, and cleansed.
I asked myself this question recently after listening to the faith struggles of a young person. As I listened, I remembered my own doubts and questions at a similar age, but couldn’t put my finger on when or how I made the transition from that place of insecurity of faith to the sureness I’m experiencing now.
Wanting to analyse my faith-journey so it can perhaps help someone else, I looked back over the road travelled, and found it strewn with fear, heartbreak, depression, hardship, failure, and desperation. The shaking, sifting, and pruning of my soul was required so that I would learn to rely only on God, instead of myself or anyone else. My intellect, ambition, pride, and determination only served to drive a wedge between myself and God. At the end of self, I have found the joy of abandonment and been able to throw myself into the safe, secure embrace of my merciful Father. But all that went before was necessary in order for me to get to this place.
“Sorrow is God’s plowshare that turns up and subsoils the depths of the soul, that it may yield richer harvests….it is sorrow that makes us think deeply, long, and soberly. Sorrow makes us go slower and more considerately, and introspect our motives and dispositions.” (Streams in the Desert)
The doubts, so prevalent in my younger days, don’t plague me any longer…at least not very often. But when doubts do come, I go back to the altar of remembrance and recount God’s faithfulness to me. I recite to my fear the many times God has proven Himself. Force my brain to bring to the short-term memory center how God has spoken to me, personally, in an intimate way so that I’ve known it was Him, and not my own imagination. My will says to the panic beginning to awaken and rouse itself: “Remember the time…” and “Didn’t God send that person right when…”
Then my heart and soul begin a hymn of praise, “God, You are faithful! You are loving! You are merciful! You are kind!” And doubt, anxiety, and heaviness are dispelled once more as the dawn of His Presence illuminates my being and the dark shadows disintegrate, becoming like dust particles in a shaft of morning sunlight.