I wanted to belong so badly. I made new worldly friends, compromised, and lost my intimacy with the Lord, my joy, my enthusiasm for life.
When a friend of mine from the Dutch Reformed Church wanted me to go with her to St. Luke’s in Seattle to hear Father Dennis Bennett share about the baptism in the Holy Spirit, I went along. As my friend received her own prayer language with such celebration and joy, I became envious and jealous.
I used to feel God loved me like that, I thought, but now everything has changed to just cold ceremony and rules.
Then I heard God’s still small voice in my heart: “For I am the LORD. I do not change” (Malachi 3:6 NKJV). And again he said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV).
I saw a picture in my head of me in a car, my head resting on the driver’s shoulder and hugging his arm. I knew God was the driver. Next, I saw myself in the same car, clinging to the armrest on the door so I wouldn’t get closer to Him as we went around a corner. “You’re the one who moved, Lynn, not Me,” the Holy Spirit spoke in my heart. “I missed Your presence, Lord, and feeling Your love, and Your divine hugs. They said only new Christians experience that and after a while ‘it’ wears off.”
I will show you the path of life. In My presence is fullness of joy. You shall live in My presence every day. (Psalm 16:11, author paraphrase).
He forgave me and took me back, restored the joy of being His beloved child. I basked in His grace and mercy. Freedom to live for Him was far better than anything I’d ever experienced away from Him. I knew He loved me just the way I was, but His presence in me would transform me into His image and character from the inside out. The reality of this was unbelievably good news. I remember when I heard that God wasn't mad at me. I thought He had taken my mother to heaven when I was just a child because I was so bad.
For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world [that's me] that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever [I'm a whoever] believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. [This was really good news] (John 3:16 AMP, author personalization).
For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him (John 3:17 AMP).
He who believes in Him [Jesus] is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:18 NKJV).
This was a relief to me. It sounded too good to be true. God doesn't want to judge me on what I did or didn't do. My salvation is ALL about Jesus. I accepted Him as my Savior. I could hardly wait to get to know Him better. The more I read my Bible, the more I loved Him. I wanted everything He had to offer.