It is often the most simple truths that I seem to forget and let slip into head knowledge in my life, letting my faith become about other things rather than the simple truth that its all about knowing God. I had the privilege of going to the big church night in yesterday and one of the highlights was the way Matt Redman led us with integrity and humility in our worship to remind us that God is faithful and that he never lets us go. How often do I make it all about me rather than about him.
As a young Christian I used to idolise Christian leaders with the beliefs that they were the A* Christians, the sort of people who never did anything wrong and that every night as they went to bed Angels would come and sing songs of peace whilst they were enveloped in the glory of God. Obviously that is an extreme view but as a young Christian I always felt I’d never be good enough for God to use me like he used those might men of old like King David or Joshua. One of the great things about my journey is that I’ve somehow stumbled into being a worship leader and a youth group leader and can safely verify that there certainly are no angels singing lullabies as I enter my bed – nor am I an A* Christian. Whatever that means. For as I grow older I’ve learnt that it’s not about being the A* Christian but following a faithful God.
One of my favourite things about Jesus’ life is the team that he assembled to accomplish Gods great victory plan. Being a keen footballer I’ve always understood the importance of a good team and choosing the best players is fundamental to success. Yet the beauty of Jesus is that his kingdom building dream team was made up of some of the unlikeliest of fellows – a bunch of misfits with wild ambitions, doubtful personalities and intriguing pasts. Despite this mismatched group they led the church to great things and sparked a world wide movement that is still roaring today. Why was this? Was it because they were great? Or was it because they had God with them. The latter is clearly true. This story fills me with great hope because I feel rather ordinary, someone who falls and stumbles, who easily forgets about the amazingness of God and I don’t always feel like I have what it takes to be a follower of God. Yet in my weakness and faithlessness God seems to somehow use me in his kingdom and still continues loving me – it defies belief sometimes! As a worship leader I’m still blown away by the way God seems to use my gifting to bring people into his presence and this isn’t false humility, I truly am amazed that the God of universe would choose to use me. It really is because God is with me and he is faithful even when I am not.
I think we all have those times where we doubt and in the distractions of life God becomes a distant memory, a concept not a love. I’ve been through plenty of these times and I often wonder why God would ever want to keep forgiving me and embracing me as his son. Recently I had one of these times where I was close to giving up on myself and on God, thinking I didn’t have what it takes to be a Christian. I ventured to the library to try and do an essay that was in for the next day and was listening to my iPod when a song came on with the words ‘you are my child and I love you.’ It was one of those rare moments where you just know it was God trying to get through to you. The weight of those words, given my recent struggle with faith and life, hit me like a train and I was overwhelmed that despite all that had happened God still somehow loves me. I remember walking to the nearest toilet with rare tears beginning to appear, desperately hoping people would think I was suffering an early bout of hay fever. All I could say was ok God I come back to you like the prodigal son did in Luke 15 with my Father rushing out to embrace me as a son and not a failure. I guess it’s the same as a mother holding a baby who has just made their nappy a little heavier… Despite the mess God embraces us with no sense of discomfort. I hope this story displays the truth that God is faithful and will never let us go despite everything we think is too much for him to accept. This is the story of my life – God being faithful in all times no matter how many times I recommit my life to him and then turn away. Nothing is too big for him.
Karl Baart wrote over 6 million words on the bible and what it meant and when asked to summarise his great writings he simply said.
“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39 ESV)
Outrageous grace from a Faithful God.