This has been a strange season for me.
Last summer, I went to California and grew so much in my relationship with Jesus.
Read here for more details on that.
But then the school year started and things slowly started to change.
I got distracted. My times with Jesus shortened because I had other things to do. Yes, if you read the blog post linked above, you know Jesus and I had become best friends again over the summer, but it’s hard to maintain “best friendship” without devoting time to investing in that relationship. And I just didn’t prioritize Jesus…which is crazy since He’s the only One qualified to help you and me with EVERY situation!
I was the picture of someone who was going through the motions.
I still did my devotions every day. I still read His Word every day.
But I didn’t find my rest in Him.
I didn’t savor Jesus.
I always had a million thoughts in my mind: things I needed to get done (that list is never ending for most of us), things I was worried about, friends I needed to catch up with, etc. And when I finally did take a break (i.e. the rare times I stopped to eat), I didn’t want to spend that break with Jesus. I’m ashamed to say that, but it’s true. I wanted to spend my break eating and watching mindless TV for 20 minutes before getting back to work. I’m not a big crier, but tears are literally welling up in my eyes as I write this. I didn’t want to spend time with sweet Jesus.
The Jesus who left His throne of glory for me.
The Jesus who endured ridicule, insults, and mockery for me.
The Jesus who was whipped, beaten, falsely accused for me.
The Jesus who was crucified for me.
The Jesus who chose to remain on that cross for me, knowing full well how I’d treat Him one day…many days.
That’s the Jesus that I didn’t want to spend time with.
Sure, I prayed consistently throughout the day–but it was a very one sided convo.
“Lord, grant me efficiency to get this stuff done.”
“Lord, help me pass this exam.” (I’d usually be on my knees for those prayers)
“Lord, do this this this…for me.”
And I didn’t think to just STOP and marvel over what He’s already done for me.
He’s not a genie in a bottle available to grant my every wish.
But I was treating Him that way.
I’ve read the story of the healed lepers where only one guy came back to thank Jesus, so of course I always said a quick thank you prayer every time He came through for me…I don’t want to be ungrateful, right?
But I wasn’t the leper who went back to Jesus to thank Him, even though I thought I was being grateful. No, I was the leper who walked away healed and glanced back at my Jesus to throw a “thank You” into the wind as I hurried to get back to my life. The Bible doesn’t mention that leper, because nominal gratitude is not real gratitude…saying “thank you” doesn’t make you thankful. I didn’t have time for Him because I had other stuff to worry about. I once heard someone say, “the height of arrogance is an ungrateful heart.” I was soaring well above the peak height of arrogance.
I kinda broke down about this on Sunday.
I was rocked to the core as I started thinking about how many idols I’ve placed before my Jesus.
And I told Him I’m sorry. There’s really no other words when you’re coming before a HOLY King and admitting that you, a sinner saved by grace, placed other things before Him.
“I’m sorry, Jesus. I’m so sorry.”
“When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered [or stressed, worried, busy], I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before You.”
-Psalm 73:21-22, brackets are my thoughts
But friends, this post is meant to brag on my Jesus.
My Jesus didn’t give me the cold shoulder.
My Jesus didn’t condemn me.
My Jesus didn’t cast me away because He had more important things to deal with.
No, my Jesus, eyes filled with love and arms open wide, RAN to me, brushed away the tears and wrapped me in His embrace:
“Welcome home, my dearly beloved child.”
And that, my friends, is the beauty of grace.
“Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
God’s grace in my life today:
I am overwhelmingly welcomed home by my King.