I found myself today in the middle of a small group of 5 college students that really loved Jesus.
I listened as they shared their desires to know Him more, the need for their campus to hear the gospel, their own insecurities about not suffering enough for the sake of the gospel, and the questions of how to balance righteousness and love with a lost world.
And there in the middle of the group was a boy who loved God, knew the Bible, had an answer for everything, and interrupted everyone.
Instantly I was taken back to a version of myself that was insufferable. It was like looking in a mirror, watching this boy.
But as I sat there silently, I realized I’m no longer that. I’m still far too quick to speak, still far too sure of my own contributions, still far too prideful. I still think that it’s about me and how I’m right. But I’m no longer who I once was.
And when the leader turned to me to ask if I had anything to say, I took a deep breath.
“I’m a little bit older than you guys,” I found myself saying, “And I could give you all kinds of practical advice on how to balance love with holiness, how to share the gospel with all kinds of people, and what suffering looks like here.”
I paused for a second, knowing exactly what I’d tell myself if I could travel back in time.
“But more important than all of these is knowing you are loved by God. John 15 says that you were made to bear fruit that lasts, which only comes from abiding in the love of God.”
Then I began to talk about the gospel. I just spoke truth over their hearts, the truth that has been so dear to my heart recently. I spoke the truth of the gospel and the love of God – the adoption into God’s family, no longer being identified as your sin, the freedom that comes from knowing He made the stars and loves at our worst. I spoke with a tenderness that I rarely feel; it was as if the core of my heart [that is finally beginning to understand grace] overflowed. I could feel the Spirit leading my words – such a gift.
“If you learn to receive the love of God,” I said, “you’ll find that your heart begins to beat with the Spirit. All the questions you have about how to love your campus and live this out and share the gospel disappear because you learn to listen to the Spirit’s voice and your heart is His heart.” As I spoke I realized that I was describing my life. So I continued, “and someday – maybe a year from now, maybe a few years from now – you’ll look back and see Philippians 1.6 has been true. You’ll see what you referenced earlier from Ezekiel, that it’s His work and He has been faithful, faithful, faithful.”
And suddenly I’d said enough. So I looked them all in the eyes, thanked them for letting me listen in, and left.
As I left I couldn’t help but smile. Oh, how good God is to work in spite of my sin and my mess. How kind He is to be faithful to this broken and unfaithful girl.
“…if we are faithless, He remains faithful.”