We were driving home from Carrowinds after a fun-filled but exhausting day of riding rollercoasters and water slides when it happened. A piece of metal shot out from under the car in front of us. Without enough time to react, our tires collided with the sharp metal, instantly shredding. We headed for the next exit, choking on rubber fumes. After waiting nearly two hours for roadside assistance, we detoured to Wal-mart Auto Center five minutes before the technician closed the loading bay doors on us. What should have been a little over a two-hour trip ended up taking six hours.
Eventually we got where we needed to go–home–even though the journey took three times longer than it should have.
Sometimes I wonder if that’s what God thinks when He looks at my life. Lessons He wants to teach me take a lot longer to learn than they originally should have.
I’ll admit it. Sometimes I’m stubborn. I don’t particularly like change. I certainly don’t enjoy being disciplined. (Who does?) And sometimes I’m just plain clueless. I finally learn the lesson God wants to teach me, only to look back over the past few weeks, months, or even years and realize He’s been trying to teach me this lesson all along. I just didn’t see it.
For so much of my life I have hungered for the approval of others. During childhood, I believed the lie that I didn’t deserve the love of others. Instead, I had to work for it. But no matter how hard I strived, I felt like I could never please the people who were most important to me. I felt that nothing I did was good enough.
God has been teaching me–for years now–that He loves me for me, not for my performance. And yet, I have continued striving to be who I think God wants me to be in order for Him to truly love me. The journey has taken far too long, but I have finally learned the lesson.
“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. … For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. … But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:1, 5, 8 NLT)
I have known these verses for a long time, but as an abstract concept. Of course I knew God loved me, but doubts plagued my mind: how can God really love me when I fall so short…when I fail Him constantly?
What caused me to learn the lesson at long last? I saw the pain others were going through as they struggled to fully accept God’s forgiveness, love, and acceptance. Serving those who had hit rock bottom–sharing the hope and healing that can only come from God–finally got through this ridiculously hard head of mine. Please don’t take such a long journey to learn this beautiful lesson.