For the longest time, I’ve been praying for some sort of platform on which I can tell the greatest love story ever told, because I feel like as the world around us gets darker and darker, we need to be reminded about who’s Boss. For a while I felt like that stage will never happen, but last week, I realised something important: I didn’t need to be a Christine Caine or a Lisa Bevere to tell the best story in the world — my life is the biggest stage I will ever walk on, at least for the time being.
It’s never been more evident than that time last week when my college friends and I were sitting around late in the afternoon, waiting for our 6:30pm Biochemistry class. One of them asked my favourite question: “How did you find the Lord?”
It was an unexpected though not unwelcome question from this bunch, because I never thought it was something that people just outright asked somebody else out of the blue. I don’t even remember the context of the conversation, but I was glad for the question, because I really, really like talking about my journey, and I promise it’s not just because I love hearing my self talk.
It’s really because to me, my faith story is a story of victory – not my own, but my God’s.
I will admit though that a second after they asked me that question, I was stunned silent. I had never actually taken the time to ask myself that, and initially, I had no idea what to say. Like, am I supposed to just give them a 1-2-3-4 list of how to be a good Christian? Do I quote Bible scripture to convince them that our God is a beautiful God? I wasn’t sure.
I didn’t know how to start, so I just told them how this journey began for me. I’ve shared a bit about this in a previous blog post, but here it is again in case you missed it:
Growing up, I was raised in a Catholic household that went to mass every Sunday. You would think that would make me a devout religious person, but I never claimed to be one. I was never into the mass, mainly because I thought that the services were repetitive and routine. They felt impersonal to me, and from then on I just sort of decided that if this is what encountering God was like, it seemed a little boring. Righteous, but boring.
But like a good girl, I went with my parents every Sunday, almost unfailingly. For a long time, I went just because I thought that God might spite me if I stopped going. Like maybe I would fail all eight of my classes and my pet fish would die if He noticed I wasn’t in church.
As I got older, I began to understand from experience that even though religion is incredibly messy and mass was fifty shades of ‘boring’, the God we pray to is a good God. He was a God who answered my prayers, and He never let me fail. So I prayed a lot: before meals, when I wake up, when I go to sleep, and when I take my tests. Given that, I began then to describe myself as spiritual, though I still shied away from “religious”. Man, I thought I was so holy for praying not to fail.
So I thought that my relationship with God was enough. I called on Him, and He answered me. What a good God! Right?
Yes, and no. The God I prayed to is sovereign, almighty and all-knowing, but my transactional relationship with Him just wasn’t enough anymore, and one day, I just felt a still, small voice ask me, “Krishna, if you only knew me as God your provider, as the God of miracles, would you still praise me if the miracles didn’t come?”
That shook me, because I realised then that the answer was almost no, and that didn’t sit well with me.
I knew this, but I never felt the urgent need to address my relationship with God until I went through one of the darkest periods of my life. It was a season when I just complained about my life, I disliked my friends, and above all, I was unkind to myself. I really absolutely believed that I was deeply unloved, that nobody was on my team, and that not one person in the world knew who I really was. I explained it to my counsellor as being like a ghost – I see everything, I hear everything, but it feels like I’m not there. Nobody notices when I’m around or when I’m gone. I thought about disappearing for a while, and I remember thinking that even then, for sure nobody would wonder where I am or if I was okay.
I lived like that for a long time.
Things only began to turn up last May, when I was encouraged by a YouTuber named Cambria Joy to read the Bible. I don’t even remember which passage I read first, but I will never forget the tender, overflowing love that wrapped around me like a comforting blanket of warmth when I learned to see how precious I am in the eyes of my Father. His love surrounded me and overwhelmed me; as if it was pressing down on me, bringing me to my knees, in a position of worship that I was always meant to take.
At that moment, I felt Him speak, and what He said was this: “My dearest child, this is what the world said to you, about you, over you – that you are unloved, unwanted, and alone. But I am the Lord, and this is what I say – my love for you is final, unchanging, and without rival.”
The moment I felt that kind of love – the love that laid waste to every single doubt, fear, pain, anger, hatred and insecurity that clogged my heart- I decided that this is where I wanted to be forever.
So I guess, after all that, the best answer I could come up with to “How did you find the Lord?” is really just that… I didn’t. He found me.
The truth that I’ve discovered in this beautiful journey is that God is never too far away. Our God is not a God who sits untouchable on the throne; He’s a God who chases after His precious children. And the funny thing is, no matter how fast or far you run, God will run harder and faster to get you back. He runs. His goes after you with such love, and mercy and grace, and the truth is that His pursuit of you is much, much greater than your ability to wander. All you really have to do is stop running, and wherever you are, God will meet you there.
But how do you stop running?
The answer is simple: Surrender.
For me, this meant having a really honest conversation with God, not as my benefactor but as my Father. All I told him was that I knew that I wasn’t living my life in the fullness of what He had for me, and I’m tired of fighting my battles on my own. I’m tired of trying to figure everything out. So God, from this day forward, I’m stepping down from my throne. You can have it; You’re in charge now. Lead me where you want me to go, and I will follow. This broken heart is yours, and I’m allowing you to change me from the inside out. I’m ready to claim my identity as Your beloved child. Take away everything in the throne room of my soul that is not pleasing to You, and help me to live my life as a living sacrifice, so that at the end of it all, I can be where You are, because there is nowhere I would rather be than in Your presence.
This is the story I told my searching friends then, and this is the story I tell you know. Perhaps the point I want to get across is this: there isn’t enough space in the throne of your heart for both you and God, so you have got to decide who gets to sit up there. Will it be you or the God of the Universe? It’s your call. God is willing and able to show you signs and wonders and miracles, and He wants to lavish on you, but He can only work to the extent that you let Him, because though our God is almighty, He can be made big or small in the hearts of His people. So if you want Him to take the reins, you have got to ask for it. You’ve got to be willing to build more elbow room. And you need to make that decision today, right now, because there isn’t enough time. The hour is so urgent.
If you decide to say ‘yes’ today, but you don’t know what to do next, I encourage you to read Matthew 16: 13-20. It’s the passage where Jesus asks His disciples the proverbial question: “Who do you say that I am?”
And know that when Jesus was asking this, He wasn’t having some sort of divine existential crisis. Of course He knows who He is. But He’s not asking because He doesn’t know. He’s asking because He wants to see if you know the answer.
So who do you say He is? And I don’t mean like what do people say about Him, or what does Wikipedia say about Him, but who is He for you?
You and I might know Him differently by His mirage of names – He is Abba, the Father; El Olam, the Everlasting God; Jehovah Shalom, the Prince of Peace; Jehovah Jireh, the Provider, and many, many more. But whoever He is to me, He wants to be to other people also. And the best thing is that He can be, and He will move mountains to get to you, if you only asked.
So just ask.
He will not leave you dry. He will meet you where you are, I promise.
Friend, if this is you, but you don’t know how to start your journey or if you’re scared of walking it alone, just let me know! I mean, I’m not a preacher or anything. I didn’t go to Bible school, but I am commanded to take people along with me. I’m so, so open to be Jesus buddies, fam. It’s the best thing ever.
And one last thing, I told you before that this story is a story of victory. This story makes me feel like Joseph in Genesis 50:20 — the enemy meant this as evil against me, but God meant it for His very purpose! The enemy wanted all that pain and anger and rejection to cause me to hold back my love, my kindness, my forgiveness and my compassion – but he is going to regret the day he ever went after me, because now, this is the very story that I will tell a lost and a broken world to show them how faithful my God is.
That’s all. Bless up, fam.
Published by Krishna Magallanes