The last couple weeks have been a little rough, but pretty enlightening. I got a lot out of the time I was able to spend with God, away from the hustle and bustle of the Internet. Although a couple weeks was not very long, I was still able to spend some time reflecting. Maybe next time will be longer. Anyway, like I said, I was able to focus on some real truths, all of which are gonna stay between me and God for right now.
With that said, I did want to share something I recently got from Matthew. My church is currently doing a sermon series called “One Prayer” and through that we are reading Matthew together. A few days ago we read Matthew 19, in which Jesus encounters a rich young man. The man asked Jesus how he could receive eternal life, to which Jesus answered, “...If you want to enter life, obey the commandments." Easy enough, right? The man responded that he had and inquired what else he lacked. Then Jesus hit him with his proverbial “Jesus stick” (reference to Mr. Echo's scripture stick from the television show Lost). Jesus said, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." That's huge, a lot of commitment, right?
If you know the story, then you know that the rich young man did not accept Jesus' invitation. Unlike other's that Jesus called, one's that dropped everything to follow Him, the rich young man chose not to. The bible says, “When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.” I always got hung up on the fact that he “went away sad”. I always thought it made some sense though. Of course he'd be sad, maybe he was unsure that Jesus was actually The Messiah and he had a lot to give up. Doesn't make it right, but maybe he was afraid to give up everything for someone that was “just another prophet”. How could he have known the trade off for all his wealth would be a relationship of true and real love with our creator that would last for all of eternity. That's just me speculating, but that is how I've thought of it in the past.
Lately though, God has helped me see a different part of that story. Not that he went away sad, it doesn't matter that he was sad. The important part is that “he went away”. Just that, “HE WENT AWAY”! Jesus told him exactly how to receive eternal life and the young man chose to go away from Christ. It doesn't matter how he felt when he went away, just that he went away. How many times do we do that? How many times does Christ tell us what we need or ought to do and we decide the cost is too high, it makes us angry, sad, doesn't fit our plans or whatever excuse we use and just go away from Him? How about this...How many times do we ask God to deliver us from some trial and when He does, we're happy, we thank Him, then we go away from Him? Oh, we come back. When things get tough again, we come back, but the fact is we still went away.
Why do we go away? I wrote a blog (Here) awhile back about God running to us and us running to Him. But this is more than that. It's not about us running to God (although we should EVERY single chance we get), it's about not going away from Him. He will always pursue us, Psalm 23:6 says, “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” He will NEVER take His love from us and He will always take us back if we go away, but I'm sure of this: He would prefer to never loose us. We may not always like the path God has laid out or the answer He gives us, but rest assured God's plans for you “are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
It doesn't matter whether we leave Jesus because we're angry, hurt, sad, disenchanted, disappointed, or even happy (because for the record, a lot of people walk away when things are going good). The point is that you left. Our feelings have nothing to do with who God is. Make no mistake, God cares about how we feel, where do you think we got our feelings from. But God does not waiver in the way He is, like we do. Our feelings do not play any role in who He is. God has not changed. He is the same everyday, ALWAYS. C.S. Lewis put it like this in his book Mere Christianity, “But the thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not.”
God loves you ALWAYS FOREVER, don't just go away from Him.