Unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain who build it…. (Psalm 127:1; NKJV)
I abandoned God because I believed that He abandoned me. I grossly misinterpreted the rejection from that guy as God’s rejection of me. My entire life, every decision I’ve made has been built on that lie. God is so gracious. I could have died in my state of rebellion. I had even heard His still small voice asking me how long I was going to be angry. But at the time, my answer was, “I don’t know.”
Embarrassing and awkward as the situation with that guy was, I wasn’t upset because he didn’t like me. I was heartbroken because I thought God didn’t. I had been attributing my value to my ability to hear God’s voice rather than what He had already said about me in the Word. So now that I had been wrong about one thing, I assumed that everything had been wrong.
Oh, I believed that God would still speak to me to benefit other people, but not for me. And I resented that. My relationship was based on a false understanding of who God is. I sang songs about grace, but deep down I believed that He loved me based on my performance.
I was raised in church and attended regularly. But I had never understood what it meant to be part of the family of God. I didn’t understand that I needed the body of Christ to survive. My foundation was faulty.
How could I have gone so long without understanding that God is my Father? In my own mind, He has been anything but that to me. He has been my accuser, my judge, my hostile opponent, my master, but never a loving father. I still remember the day a few months ago when a woman from my church pointed out the discrepancy in my line of reasoning. I stopped, shocked at the foreign concept that was being laid out before me. God is our Father. I ‘knew’ the Bible said so. I had prayed the Lord’s Prayer on many occasions. But this revelation was different. That day, God was my Father.
Today I read a devotional about returning home. That’s exactly what this process feels like to me. I’m the prodigal who is slowly regaining my identity. I lost my way somewhere in the middle and am in the process of finding my way back to God and to the place He originally intended me to be.
It wasn’t God who abandoned me after all. I wasn’t just a lowly servant who did His bidding. He didn’t care about everyone’s future except for mine. It’s strange to wake up and realize that you’re the one that ran away. My feet never even had to move to run. They had remained firmly planted in the church, but my heart had been AWOL (absent without leave) for a long time.
My life has been filled with fear and torment instead of the love and compassion of Jesus. The past few years feel like a blur, as if I’ve been stuck in a haze. I’ve made a lot of wrong turns and mistakes without ever consciously acknowledging what I was doing. Nevertheless, God’s grace has never failed me.
Sometimes I feel so incapable that I wonder, why me? Like Moses, I stand before the God of the universe and try to explain why I’m not a good candidate for the job (See Exodus 3). He says I AM will be with you. He reassures me that He will be everything that I need, but I can only see my own past mistakes, failures and weaknesses.
I feel that way now. I’ve been trying to write my story for a while (literally and figuratively). I think the key to success is realizing that you’re not the one writing after all.