Testimony Labor Day, 2006

Labor Day 2006

I have known about Jesus since I was a little girl.  I vividly remember accepting Christ when I was six years old.  However, I have learned that knowing who Christ is and believing that He died for my sins is quite different than living a life that is fully dependent on Him – one that exemplifies a complete trust in Him.  Sure, I know in my head that Jesus is the Son of God and that He, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are all One in the Trinity.  I know that God is sovereign and that He has a perfect plan and that He gives me a future hope because of His ultimate victory over the enemy and His grace in giving me eternal life through His death on the cross.  But I have to ask myself, do my actions reveal these facts and beliefs through the way I live my life?  Sadly, if I am to answer honestly, I would have to say no.

As a child, I heard all the amazing Bible stories about God and His followers.  You know, stories like David and Goliath, Jonah and the Whale, even Christ’s death on the cross.  These stories show us that God is awesome and He does unbelievable things.  Christ adores a childlike faith.  Unfortunately, we grow up and begin to think too practically and rationally.  The Bible stories may seem to be just that . . . stories.  The miracles performed seem a little far-fetched.  We may begin to doubt God, wondering why certain things happen and perhaps wondering if He is really in control.  Our Lord is not a God that makes sense in human terms.  He is not a thing to be understood . . . He is almighty God with thoughts and ways greater than our own, beyond our understanding.  Well, it was exactly this adult way of thought and determination to understand God that has caused me difficulty in my faith.

I am a believer in Jesus Christ and I know this for a fact. I am sealed with the Holy Spirit, but I definitely struggle with my faith at times.  In fact, as I write this testimony, I consider myself to be in a full out “wrestling match” with God.  The problem is that I have ideas and plans for my life that are not necessarily part of God’s perfect plan and part of my struggle is that He is not revealing His perfect plan to me.  I do not know where my life is heading and I feel anxious and lost quite often.  For some reason, I struggle to let go of wanting my way and striving to know what He has planned in the future.  It is weird because I know His way is perfect, that He is in control, and that He will only do what is best . . . I definitely want what is best, but something in me still wants my way too and I want to know what He is going to do.  The problem is that it is not my privilege to know the thoughts or plans of God before He reveals them.  My role is to worship and seek Him, trusting that He will work everything out for good.

This struggle I described above is called “godship.”  You see, prior to my visit with Emily, I had been very confused about the difference between God and Jesus.  Since I knew God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to be One in the Trinity, I thought they were inherently the same.  Emily has a whole worksheet about this that explains the difference between God and Jesus.  You see, God is the independent Father who controls all of life, does His own will, judges, seeks worshippers, exalts Himself, owns everything, and is to be served.  Jesus is God’s dependent Son who trusted God’s control, did the Father’s will, did not judge, forgave, humbled Himself, and served.  See the difference?  And we are called to live our lives as Jesus lived His – to love, trust, seek, and serve God.  The problem is that I had been living my life as if I was God – trying to control my life and seeking my own will, judging others, exalting myself by trying to win others’ approval, and so on.  This is wrong.  It is sin to try to play God in our lives – to try to work everything out according to our will (even if our will seems good and right to us).  Emily presented this truth to me and allowed the Holy Spirit to convict me of this sin in my life.

Emily walked through confession and repentance with me.  I repented of my exercise of godship and many other things including the standards I put on people, my judgment of these people, unforgiveness and bitterness toward these people because they did not meet my expectations.  We dealt with rejection and hurt that I experienced in my life and she walked me through forgiveness.  I learned that there was a lot more sin festering in my heart than I ever thought.

Emily brought me to God’s promises and truth, but I realized that in my heart I was not trusting in His promises nor was I believing His truths.  It seems so absurd to write all of this and admit it, but this is truly what I experienced.  If this all sounds too familiar to you and applicable to your life, know that you can be free.  Know that you do not have to “wrestle” with God and that you can trust in His truths and promises.  I don’t speak as someone who as “arrived” and is “fixed”, for that will only come when we see our Lord in Heaven.  But I speak as someone who is learning to trust our almighty Father who loves us and has a perfect plan, our Father who is patient and loving.  Working through sin is yucky and it hurts, but it reaps so much peace and closer fellowship with our Maker.

I am thankful for Emily Edwards – for her love, selflessness, and teaching.  She gave me tools to work through my sin and pain, tools to help me grow closer to God.  She finds joy in sharing God’s truth and for providing tools for healing.  We were strangers before she volunteered her Labor Day weekend to counsel me, but now I consider her a true friend and sister in Christ.  God is the almighty Physician and He blesses our lives with people like Emily who share His selfless love and grace, directing us to His healing truth!