For every Christian, you’ll find 37 different reasons why they believe in salvation through Jesus. I’m certainly no exception, as I’ve found several reasons of my own in my faith journey. Some of those deal with apologetics, the proof of Christianity through logic. On the other hand, several reasons are much harder to define or describe, falling more into the realm of something I just feel.
One of the greatest ways I feel my faith justified falls into that latter category. They say that God stills speaks to us. Not in any grand fashion or with a loud proclamation, but, rather, in the subtle things of life spoken in whispers. I’ve definitely found that to be true in my own life. Usually, these loving whispers come at a time when I feel my strength ebbing, like I’m failing in a certain area. But out of an unending love and a desire to see me back on my feet, God always finds a way to send me words I desperately need to hear.
Nearly 6 months ago, I took a trip to Haiti. Those of you who read my posts about that trip, you know that the first portion of that trip didn’t go as planned. If you’d like to read the entirety of that story, you can do so here. Long story short, a friend and I were sent down a few days ahead of the main group to spend more time immersed in Haiti and its culture. I was supposed to stay at one of our orphanages the whole weekend, but I basically freaked out after a day and ended up leaving the orphanage to stay with my friend and the interpreter that was hosting her.
Come Monday, the rest of the group arrives and we all go to the hotel where we stay at. At this point, the guilt and embarrassment from my decision that weekend was still heavy on my mind. It was a struggle not to let it consume me and ruin the trip altogether.
That first night at the hotel, I took to the beach to be alone and clear my head. I found a beach chair, plopped down on it, and started unloading on God. But something didn’t quite feel right – too close to the exit where other people may see me, that must be it. So I moved.
That subtle little feeling may seem like an insignificant detail, but I promise you it’s relevant.
I found a different chair, further down the shore where I felt less likely to be disturbed. And out came all the feels. The exact words have been lost to time, but I do remember them being incredibly harsh towards myself. Lots of cursing my dumb existence, questioning why I suck so much. Probably a few tears to top it all off.
For a few minutes, I just sat there, eyes screwed closed as I mentally beat myself up. Eventually, my tirade lost steam. I couldn’t come up with any more ways to curse myself. The words I felt I needed just wouldn’t come. I felt the subtle prodding from God to stop and open my eyes. When I finally did open them up, I saw something that brought the tears back for a whole new reason.
I love you.
Written in the sand with a handful of rocks was one of the most powerful phrases in the English language. I love you. For a young man who so desperately needed that as a reminder, sitting right at his feet. In front of this one of hundreds of chairs. I was stunned speechless by those three simple words spelled in the sand.
As I’ve thought about that night, I’ve connected a few more dots. For starters, I had to move from where I was to see God’s love. That first chair I sat at, for the purpose of this metaphor, represents the mindset of self-hatred I felt at that moment. It wasn’t until I followed God’s call to move from that position that I could see God’s love.
Second, I still couldn’t see it until I just shut up and opened up my eyes. I was so concerned with the negative thoughts flooding my mind that I voluntarily blinded myself to the truth. So set on keeping my eyes shut, I couldn’t see the truth sitting right at my feet.
That night still pops up in my mind often. To this day, when I take a moment to quiet myself in an attempt to hear from God, those same three words are usually the first I hear. I love you. It’s something that bears repeating as I am prone to forget. But my mind will go back to that night on the beach and make my burdens seem that much lighter. Forever I will know that I am loved.
Has God ever spoken to you in a similar bold way? Drop a comment below and let me know how He moved in you!