If you want to see the world’s hunger for the Gospel clearly, look no further than New Year’s Eve. Everyone is hustling and bustling, looking their best and hoping that finally, this one time, things will really be different when the clock strikes midnight.
We’re all plotting and scheming how we’ll show up better this time. We plan how we’ll advance our cause, how we’ll move the ball forward. We vow to make ourselves smaller, or make our accolades louder, or our list of achievements longer. Maybe we hope our lives will be simpler, more peaceful, with more margin and better investment. We imagine a kind of alchemy, a handshake between time and will that’ll finally change things for good.
We imagine we’ll wake up the next morning full of willpower and grit. Completely different than the wrung out, exhausted, sliding-into-the-holidays mess that we were just the night before. Somehow we imagine we’ll finally ace relationships, we’ll juice our vegetables into something palatable, we’ll dig into our Bibles with consistency.
We all want a defining moment where we’re different.
And, I’ll tell you, the only time that has EVER happened for me was when I have met the Lord in a new way.
It happened when I finally relented to His relentless pursuit of me and attended a high school small group Bible Study…even though I wouldn’t really get it all straight for more months. I felt different and I was enthralled with the maybe that all this God stuff was true. I was constantly tumbling the possibility of it in my mind.
It happened when all the sudden on a high school retreat I heard the words “Let my life reflect the beauty of my Lord” in worship and I GOT IT. I got what the whole Christian Life thing meant. Where before I couldn’t sort up from down, all the sudden it supernaturally came into view. I believed in Jesus in a real and tangible way and NOTHING about my life has been the same.
It happened when I was laying with my cheek next to the toilet on the cold linoleum. I’d lived in cycle of believing the “next thing” was going to fulfill me for years. I believed life would really start when I left for college, or when I got married, or when we had a baby. I was never content, because I just thought there was something better a little out of reach. When I found myself newly married, newly pregnant, and constantly sick for all 40 weeks…I was at the end of myself. At that moment by the toilet, I was exhausted. Objectively, I’d grasped every single thing that I had thought would make me happy. I was married to a genuinely amazing man, we lived in a cute little apartment, and I was pregnant with this tiny baby. Except this tiny baby was making me truly miserable. And, I realized at that moment, face slicked with cold sweat and sticking to the nasty bathroom floor, “I have everything I said would make me happy…and yet.” It was then that God intervened and somehow, I realized that life wasn’t just over the horizon…but life was right now. For the first time in my life, my will was matched by an unchangeable situation. I couldn’t just plan or maneuver my way out of this difficulty like I’d managed to do in the past. The only way out of this hard time was through it. This was my life, and on paper I had everything I’d ever wanted. From that moment, I no longer lived in a state of constant discontent.
There have been a handful of moments since then that changed everything for me, supernaturally and without striving. It was all Him and none of me.
This is what the world is longing for. We are all hoping that there is an answer to our messed up, backwards-and-upside-down lives. There is something deep in our souls that whisper hope, but in our flesh we think we have the power and responsibility to change in our own strength. Sure, we can make small changes and amend our habits, because common grace is a real thing. God has given us free will and humans are amazingly capable beings.
But, that REAL, soul-deep change that we obsess over, that’s the work of God. We think it might be able setting goals and shining ourselves up, but I don’t know that I’ve been changed from the inside out that way. Goals are great for making the most of who you already are, or making small and tangible movements to who you’d like to become. BUT, the overnight, I-was-this-and-now-I’m-that kind of change remains fully in the purview of our supernatural God.
That’s what we’re all craving. Let’s make sure that we offer God when we see the world asking for Him without knowing. <3