Many times, people start looking for God when they are struggling. All of life’s most difficult trials–divorce, death of someone we love, serious illness, job loss, drug and alcohol addiction, depression, anxiety, severe emotional pain, chronic pain, a prison sentence–anything that brings us to our knees gives us an opportunity to find out who God is. Why? Because a lot of times, we won’t really look for God until we come to the end of what we can fix or endure.
When we are overwhelmed, we are ready to admit that we don’t have control over everything. We aren’t superheroes, we’re people. We have faults and we have limitations. We don’t always do the right things, and even when we know better, sometimes we still do what we know we shouldn’t. Who will still love us no matter how weak we are? Who will still love us just as much if we don’t have a laundry list of achievements? Who loves us when other people don’t? The Lord Almighty does!
God doesn’t love us the same way that people do. In Isaiah Chapter 55, verses 6-9, it says: Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. [NIV Bible]
God loves you right here, right now. You don’t have to earn God’s love. God doesn’t wait to start loving you until you become the improved version of yourself. God loves you because He created you. He loves you because His ways–His ability to love us when we do things that are wrong and to forgive us an infinite amount of times–are NOT our ways. If someone treats us badly enough times, we stop forgiving them. We kick them out of our lives, tell them off, give them the silent treatment, hold a grudge and make them suffer for how they hurt us. Those are human ways of dealing with the faults of others. God doesn’t work that way.
This is what God asks for from you–you must believe He is who He says He is–THE ONLY TRUE GOD. Only your true Creator loves you unconditionally. Only your true Creator can strengthen and comfort you. Only your true Creator can forgive your sins. So you have to be clear that you believe not only that there is a god (in theory) or that a “higher power” exists, but that there is ONLY ONE TRUE GOD.
The One True God is three persons in one: God the Father; Jesus Christ, His Son; and The Holy Spirit. Each one is distinct from the other, but together they form what we know as “God.”
The first step toward knowing God is by reading the Bible. You can check a Bible out from the library, buy one from Walmart or order one from Amazon. You can also read the Bible online. When you first start reading the Bible, don’t pressure yourself to understand it all. The Holy Spirit will teach you as you read, and it will take time and practice to get acquainted with Scripture. But keep going and PERSIST in reading the Bible because when you do, your soul is being taught spiritual truths by God Himself, even if you don’t understand them intellectually.
The Bible is called “The Living Word” because as you read it, you are being changed and enlightened. Every time you make reading the Bible a priority, you are growing as a Christian, even if you don’t feel it happening. Read the Bible by faith, believing that you are always gaining ground in your relationship with God by making the effort and taking that time.
Prayer is a must-have for getting to know God. Prayer is just talking with God, either in your mind or out loud. God wants to hear from you directly. He wants to know how you are feeling, what concerns you, how your family is doing, how your job is going. He wants you to ask Him for His help with your decisions, and He wants to guide you to the choices that He knows will bless you. Yes, He does already know everything that is going on in your life, but He wants you to come to Him for His support and His wisdom. God can do so much more for you than you can do for yourself!
In 1 Corinthians 1:25, it says: For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. [NIV Bible] Let this verse really sink in and speak to you. No matter how intelligent, resourceful, determined and skilled you are, you still need God. You may be beautiful, admired, successful and rich, but you aren’t perfect. You can certainly try to be, but it’s an unobtainable goal. Perfectionism so often leads to feeling like no matter how well you do, it just isn’t good enough. A perfectionist might be good at a lot of different things, but one failure can negate your self esteem, because you have to be good at EVERYTHING! You aren’t allowed to make mistakes; you can’t just do a good job, you have to do a great job, or you just aren’t “good enough.” Many good people have such high expectations of themselves that they feel like failures even when they haven’t even failed in the first place!
I’m very familiar with all of these feelings, because I am a (reformed! 🙂 perfectionist myself. After my mother died when I was in the 8th grade, my grades went up immediately. I maintained a (nearly) straight-A average throughout my middle and high school years. During that time, I lived with my maternal grandmother, and she was so hard to please that she never even told me “Good job” when I showed her my report cards. It was just expected; it wasn’t a reason for praise, it was what I should be doing. So I grew up thinking that anything less than my best meant that I had failed.
My academic perfectionism continued into my adult life. I earned two degrees, an Associate’s and a Bachelor’s, graduating Summa cum Laude for both. I remember distinctly feeling defeated on any exam that I didn’t get 100% on. An “A” wasn’t as good as an “A+”. I would deeply regret the questions I missed, and I didn’t feel like I had accomplished something if I hadn’t been completely right. I look back on those times now, and I can see the damage it did to me. I look at my former self, and I can clearly see that I needed mercy. I needed to be loved for who I was and not for how well I performed. I needed to be loved unconditionally. I NEEDED GOD!
So what brings you to God today? What are you coming up against that is beyond all your best efforts to confront? I can promise you this–God wants to be in your life. You matter to God! No one else is who YOU are, and God misses you. Come to Him for relief, for love, for security, for comfort. Tell Him all the things you can’t tell anyone else. He never gets tired of listening to you. He’s there when you need to vent, but your friends and family just don’t understand or you can’t reveal to them what’s wrong. God can be trusted. Put your faith and your trust in God. Don’t deprive yourself another day of the love and acceptance that only God can give you.
All of heaven rejoices when ONE person turns to God. One person out of the billions of people in the world coming to God is cause for celebration! In Luke Chapter 15, verses 1-7, it says: Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear Him (Jesus). But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’
“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” So what does God say to someone who has made mistakes, done wrong and rejected Him and now wants to know HIm? He says, “Welcome! We’re so glad you’re here!”