I feel like an utter failure.
This isn't a new experience for me. Honestly, it's kind of common.
See, I'm one of those people who can see myself as failing miserably. I don't like to fail, and I try not to let it keep me down, but then...there are times I just want to raise the white flag of defeat.
Yet God won't let me.
And I'm glad.
For a while now, I've felt so far away from God and I've wondered how I got here. Is He there? Is He still listening to my prayers? Sheesh, does He even care about those things I've been asking Him about for years now?
While I don't know all there is to know about God, I do know some things. I know that when I feel this way, it's not because God has moved away, it's because I have. I've changed. I've let something get between my relationship with my Best Friend. (James 4:8 - Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts ye double-minded.)
And usually, I know what it is. Not all the time, mind you. Just usually.
Like maybe I'm thinking the wrong thing. Maybe I'm listening to the wrong music. (Yes, music does that to me.) Maybe I'm harboring bitterness toward someone, or am unforgiving someone about something. Maybe I've gotten my priorities wrong ~ like perhaps sales and money, rather than souls for God.
I'll tell you the truth, I'd love to sell sell sell all my books. Let's be honest! Do you have a job that you don't care if you make money with or not? I didn't think so. But I digress.
Whatever the cause, lately I've been pulled away from being right beside my Savior. I've let something turn my eyes away and cause me to falter. I've felt far, far away and I've been trying to draw back to Him because that's where I want to be.
I pray. I seek Him. I read the Bible.
...and yet, sometimes I still feel...distant.
Ever hear Martin Luther's quote:
Feelings come and feelings go
And feelings are deceiving.
My warrant is the Word of God,
Naught else is worth believing.
That has got to be one of my favorites. It reminds me that my salvation ~ nor anyone else's ~ is based upon feelings. Period.
Last Wednesday, for our children's club, as usual, I did the devotions. I like doing them. I get up there and am able to prance around and look like an idiot, make the kids laugh, and teach God's Word. What's better than that, right?! Anyway, as the kids bowed their heads to close out in prayer, I mentioned that if any of them didn't know Jesus as their Savior and wanted to ask Him into their hearts, they could ask any one of the leaders in the room and we'd be happy to show them how.
We prayed, and we dismissed. Some tromped upstairs like a herd of elephants while others raced down the hallway to play games.
There were three that came to see me.
And I knew what they wanted. I pulled up some chairs and I sat on the ground (in my white skirt, but I didn't care. Something more important than a white skirt was at stake here!) and had the privilege of leading those three to Jesus Christ.
And I thought, What's better than this? What's more important than this? And now I know why the burdens have been so heavy lately. Why I've felt so tired, lost, and less than a good Christian.
Satan wanted those children's souls, and if it meant that he needed to distract me, then he was going to try his best.
He almost succeeded.
1 John 4:4 - Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he who is in the world.
The Bible is true. God is real. God cares. God loves us, even when we feel so...far...away and He's so very patient to draw us back to Himself. Back so close that He entrusts us with the most important thing of all.
I am honored and humbled to serve a God such as this.
But the thought remains. If I hadn’t submitted myself to God, asked for His forgiveness and drew close to Him again, what could have happened? Would these children have gone to someone else? Or worse. Would they have gotten saved at all?
My thoughts? God used those children to teach me a lesson.
Yes. He’s still here. And He’s still in control. He hears me when I pray and He still loves me when I mess up.
I just need to hit my knees.