Four years ago I sat on the ground of a small chapel. This whole concept of prayer, God, and religion was so extremely frustrating. I was doing everything I thought I was suppose to do — I went to church on Sunday, I prayed before meals, I asked God to help me and come into my life but all I felt was emptiness. I couldn’t take it anymore. I was ready to be done with God and just turn my back to him and walk out into the world.
So there I sat on the floor, the lights were mostly off, no one was there, and silence surrounded me. I looked up at the cross in front of me and thought to myself, “God this is your last chance. I’m so done with all of this. If you have something to say to me say it now because I’m walking out.”
I stared a few more seconds — nothing. I turned to pack up my things and leave, but then I felt something in my heart urging me to stay a little longer. I put my things down and stared back up at the cross. In that moment I heard the faintest, yet most powerful thought come to my mind. I couldn’t get the image of Christ crucified out of my head.
I closed my eyes trying to shake the image but instead I heard the faintest whisper in my heart tell me “Do you see these scrapes on my knees? They are from the countless hours I have spent begging on my knees for you to see me and return to me.”
I sat not moving a single muscle trying to comprehend this whole experience. I took another deep breath, thinking I was going crazy or something, only to hear that exact same faint whisper in my heart say, “You see, I wasn’t simply taped to the cross. It wasn’t like I could simply come down when things got too overwhelming and painful. I was literally nailed to the cross until my last breath.”
Another deep breath.
My heart was so deeply convicted of one of the hardest things I ever had to accept — that sometimes our hardships, our struggles, our pain here on this earth is something we will encounter until our very last breath. But as I accepted this reality I smiled knowing the blessing it is to encounter Christ at the foot of the cross.
I walked out that day encountering a love like no other. But days, months, years went on and that moment because a distant memory — almost like it was a dream — as it was replaced with new (and old) hurts, fears, and struggles.
I grew so frustrated with myself for failing time and time again. I was saddened by the repetitive cycle of sin. I was overwhelmed by the feeling of complete desolation.
A few weeks ago — four whole years later — I was driving through empty backroads when this tender moment came flooding back to me like it was yesterday. It came back in a time where I needed it more than ever, in a time where desolation and loneliness keeps finding its way into the depths of my heart.
All I could think was how am I going to make it through this time — a time where churches are closed, community seems like a distant memory, and the past simply keeps creeping up.
And maybe that’s where you are at too.
And guess what? it’s okay.
It’s okay to be scared, lonely, overwhelmed, confused, sad and frustrated. It’s okay if the you find yourself struggling. Maybe the past is creeping up on you too. But wherever your life looks like right now, wherever your heart is at right now I know one thing is true — Jesus wants to meet you right where you are at. Meet him there.
It’s not easy, but I promise it is oh-so worth it.