This picture is one of the earliest pictures I have (digitally) of myself. It was taken in the late summer of 2002, about three years after I declared Jesus as Lord of my life. The other people in the picture are still very dear to me, even though I almost never talk with them anymore. When we visit the Seattle area we attempt (if time allows) to connect, which seems to be less and less as time and life go on. So the the main reason I’m writing this is because over the last 12 years of living this dedicated life I’ve always felt “giving up” just wasn’t a choice for me, in so many ways… little did I know how often this would be tested.
I could write a long entry about all the events of the last 12 years, and all the times I felt like calling this “Christianity” stuff quits. There’s a lot, a lot of times where people let me down, or I was being selfish, or times where seemingly the Church was just rather mediocre and I was upset. That basically sums up a lot of the “tests” where I had a decision to “give up” or march on through with the values that I knew were important to God, in some way, shape or form, where I had to truly look at the realities and truly realize that God and people are not the same… and also come to the realization that God expresses himself mainly through humanity… which by it’s very definition means there will be failure, let down, and many opportunities to “exit” “rightfully” (to put it in standard American mentality form).
Somewhere along the line I learned that God is always there, even in people who fail me, in situations that seem impossible, and most of all, times where I failed myself. I have many people to thank who gracefully, along the way, pointed me in the right direction, speaking wisdom from their lives, and listened to God. I also have a big thanks to God for placing His spirit in me, allowing me to hear his voice, when I choose. It’s these “little things” that have sustained me over these 12 years. Again I’m not sure what this entry is really about, I’m just pontificating… I guess…
The bottom line to this whole thing is that I am so saddened when people just walk away from Christ, when they just can’t see the difference between humanity and God – when, they get let down so hard and no one seemingly has any idea what to do. Again, there’s always the fine line of “how far do we go”. So often I think many of us don’t take risks, but for me, I’ll continue taking the risks, because I know Jesus is there – even when I get knocked out, I know He’ll get me back up again… and I’ll be more wise and ready the next time around.
The (sorry long, but exactly who I know I am) verses that sum up the identity that I believe every follow of Christ should know without any doubt:
22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hopet for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)
26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work togethert for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.