Time. It passes by rapidly. Days seem like weeks. Weeks like months. And months like years. Time is out of our control. Time brings pain, and joy, and depression, and love, and anxiety, and redemption, and peace, and the unexpected. And change. As we look to the past we can see the marvelous amounts of change that has taken place in our lives.
Time. It stops for no one. In the past two years my life has been full of pain, joy, love, anxiety, redemption, peace, and the unexpected marvelous change. Emphasis on the anxiety. Greater emphasis on the change. Two years ago I did not believe in God like I do now. When life went wrong, I did not turn to God and draw close to Him. With the little faith I had as a Freshman in high school, I blamed God for all my problems. I blamed God for all of the bad circumstances I faced. If something went wrong, God did it to punish me. God wasn’t good. God was allowing bad things to happen to me. God allowed people in my life to hurt me. God was supposedly my creator, and He did a pretty awful job. I was depressed and anxious. Why would God make me that way? Why would a God that was good make me hate myself so much that I would want to die? Why would a God who created me, create me to be anxious and worried? I began to question God. I did not want to believe in someone who allowed so much pain and depression to enter my life. The little faith I had disappeared my Sophomore year of high school.
Time. It brought pain and loss to my life that year. A classmate, and good friend, lost his 16 month battle with Leukemia at barely 15 years old. I cannot begin to describe the unimaginable pain that I felt the day I found out he had passed. Why did God, who is supposed to be good, allow him to die? This is the point I began to question God’s existence. I had questions and no answers. A year later time brought more pain than I could handle. After a recent break up, I began to question my worth. I began to hate myself. I wasn’t good enough. Unworthy and unlovable were some of the labels I placed on myself. I didn’t want to live anymore. I took a bottle of pills and went to sleep, hoping to never wake up. But I did. Again, questions flooded my mind. If God is good, why would he make me this way? Why create me to hate myself so much that I wanted to die? A God who ends the life of a child and causes severe depression was not a God that I wanted anything to do with. A new label I placed on myself was atheist. As it went on I faced more and more pain. Opening weekend of my freshman year of college, a dear friend commited suicide. Time had taken her from me. Time went on. And time removed more people from my life. At the end of my freshman year, my high school best friend was tragically killed in a car accident.
Time. It can bring pain. It can bring depression. It can bring anxiety. Where was my peace, and joy, and love, and redemption? Where was my good? When was time going to bring change? I did nothing to change my circumstances but expected change to come. I filled my life with lies, hate, sin, negative thoughts, jealousy, envy, and cheating. Never satisfied. Never fulfilled. Never at peace. I was searching in all the wrong places. I was trying to change my life. I was trying to do the impossible. I had no control over my life.
Time. It can bring healing. I never thought it would happen to me. But it did. It was nothing that I did. I had no control over my healing. But God. He has that control. He can do what is impossible for me. But God. He heals. He redeems. He brings love, and joy, and peace. My senior year of college was full of unexpected marvelous change. Changes that led me to put my faith in Christ and surrender my life to him. I surrendered a weekend to learn about who God was at Winter Conference in Indianapolis. I surrendered a week to grow in my faith at Big Break in PCB. I surrendered an entire summer to share my faith and live in a christ-centered community at Ocean City Summer Mission. Time. I surrendered to God, and He gave me more than I could ever imagine. God healed my broken heart from all my pain from the past. God redeemed me. I was made new. I was given a new heart. I was made clean. I would never be the same again. My life was filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control because I now belonged to Christ.
Time. It keeps passing by. But God. He is always present. He is always good. A God that I once resented and turned away from pursued me. He wanted me and had a wonderful plan to rewrite the story of my life.
Time. It still brings pain. It still brings depression. It stills brings anxiety. But God. He heals. He is in control. When time passes by and life brings pain, when depression consumes my life, when anxiety hangs over me like a cloud, I look to God for healing. I was thriving during my summer at Ocean City. God was the center of my life. Everything I did, I did for God. I was in the Word daily. My friendships were centered on God. My life was good. I was a discipler to three beautiful women. I led an action group. I was enjoying life and all that God had given me. Then the summer ended. I went back to college and my depression and anxiety hit me. I went from the highest mountain, to the lowest valley in a short 10 hour drive home. I left God in Ocean City. But God. He did not leave me. He was ever present. Always working in my life. I was not aware of God’s presence for the first few months coming back to school. I was no longer thriving. I was barely surviving my day to day life. For the past six months I have been anxious . Anxious about school, about relationships, about friendships, about applications. About nothing. I have no control over any of these aspects of my life. I had this false belief that I could. Recently I have learned that God can calm my anxiety. He can bring me peace in my storm. I gave up control and entrusted everything to God. He is bringing me peace. I lift my praises and gratitude to Him. Instead of living in the dark pit of suffering, I can live in the light of God and rejoice in all the good that He gives me.
Time. It brings love. The love of a Father who has adopted me as His own. All my faults. Everything from my past. He wants me. All of me. He has redeemed me of everything that has made me feel guilt and shame. He has made me new and covered me with his mercy. He loves all of me and I am His beloved.
Time. It has made me undeniably certain of three things.
He is in control.
He is good.
Just like you heard a story of a life changed by Jesus, This could be your story too and it begins by inviting Jesus Christ into your life by faith. The greatest story happened two thousand years ago when God sent his son Jesus Christ to live a perfect life, and to die as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). This righteousness of God is given “through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (Romans 3:22) so that we can have a personal relationship with God both now and after we die in heaven.
Your story could change in a moment. The Bible says “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This could be your story. You can receive Jesus Christ right now by faith. Romans 10:9 says “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” You can invite Jesus into your life right now by praying this prayer.