Many would say my life has been easy so far.
I’ve lived in Orange County my whole life.
I’ve always had a home to stay in.
My friends have almost ALWAYS been there for me.
Water has never been hard to get.
My family has loved me since birth.
I was sheltered as a child, which many would see as a plus.
I grew up in a household that was DEDICATED to bringing their kids to church every weekend.
Yup, life is good, and I can say that with confidence.
To be honest though, I didn’t always see it that way. Sin had pulled me deeper and deeper into a black hole. Even though I grew up in this household, my heart was never open or ready to hear from a God that was so eagerly calling me. Being born in sin, my life was ruled by lying, self-glorification, and so much more. The older I got, the more I fell into the abyss. Since God’s will always happens God of course was going to soften my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh. He was always ready to be the only one to pull me out of the black hole and place me eternally into the light.
God is sovereign. In August of 2006, I was 14 years old. I was asked to attend a Jr. High camp up at Hume Lake where Christian camps are held every year in California. I didn’t think much of it. I just thought to myself, “Hey, I’ll have a fun time canoeing on the lake and hanging out with friends”. Little did I know, that God was going to faithfully show me that He is the creator of all things (Genesis 1:1), that He is holy (1 Peter 1:16), that because He is holy He is perfectly just (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9), and that I deserve a punishment for my sins (being Hell, a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, an eternal separation from God Mathew 13:47-50, Matthew 7:23). In the middle of that week, on a Wednesday night, I heard all this for the first time. At first, I responded in horror. I said to myself, “Who is this God that He decides everything about my life, including my destination after death? Wait, I don’t know God? I thought I did!…Didn’t I? Well, now that I think about it, when did I ever really live for God?” A pastor proceeds to tell me that because I am His creation, I need to be obedient to Him and what He desires, and that I need to be holy. There’s only one way that I can be saved. I thought, “Well how? It’s Jesus I’m sure, but what did He do?”
God is love. 1 John 4:7-8 says that God is love. Since God is holy, He is perfectly loving, kind, gracious, and merciful. The pastor presented the Gospel to the audience. He said Jesus was born of a virgin birth, being 100% man and 100% God (Col. 1:15). He came to be the sacrifice for my sins. He came to die on a cross (Philippians 2:8) and rise again (Matthew 28:6) for all mankind (1 Peter 3:18). My response was to be repentance (1 John 1:9, Acts 3:19) and faith (Philippians 3:9, Romans 10:9-11). Through the Holy Spirit and through God’s timing, God changed my life that night and I repented of my sins and put my faith in Christ. By grace I have been saved (Ephesians 2:8).
My eyes were opened, and my ears heard for the first time. My life was no longer seen as my own, but as God’s. My life was no longer enslaved to sin. I was free.
Yes, my life has its ups and downs. No, I am not perfect.
Through it all God is good, and He is a God of a peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and I KNOW God forgives past, present and future.
I have a “too blessed to be stressed” life.