A few weeks ago, I was telling a story and doing creative prayer with an after school kids club. The theme all the leaders had been given for the term was our favourite Bible story; each time we told a story, did a craft or led the games it had to be related. This led to us all having to seriously think about what our favourite Bible stories were; was it one that Jesus told? Was it one in the Old Testament? For me, trying to get mine down to one was tricky. In the first instance I wanted to do God’s Armour from Ephesians 6, but that’s not a story Louise! Maybe I’ll get to give that one another time.
The story I chose in the end was that of Noah. Noah, a guy who trusted the Lord with everything he had; a guy who listened. And when I was giving this story I started with two questions. Have any of you made a promise? Every single hand went up. All the children and all of the leaders. How many of you have ever broken a promise? All the hands stayed up. This simple illustration that we, as humans, are not able to fulfil our promises: but God does.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6
God is with us, He never leaves us. He’s always there. I feel that this verse from Deuteronomy is really encouraging. When I feel so alone and that God is not with me, this reminds me that He is. We have no need to afraid. Whatever situation we enter into, God is with us. Whether that’s entering an exam, a difficult family situation, the holidays without your friends…whatever it may be – He is there. I’m not going to lie, I struggle sometimes with this. I have started prayers with “God, are you there?” even though I know, in my heart, that He is.
I write this on Good Friday, on the day we remember that God sent His one and only Son to die for us. To die for OUR sins. We are SAVED by the ultimate sacrifice. Romans 5 says this:
“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified in His blood; we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For it while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned-“
He sent His Son because He loves us. We don’t deserve His mercy or His grace. Yet, for those who believe – we have it. Christ died for us, who would do that? It’s ridiculous – that’s why it’s so amazing. We are reconciled with God because of the sacrifice of Jesus. I find that amazing, and because of that sacrifice – we can have a relationship with God. We still screw up, I know I do. I screw up all the time but because of Jesus, I am forgiven. I can still have a relationship with God. And because I have a relationship with Him, I know that he’ll keep his promises.
Numbers 23:19 says this:
“God is not a man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfil it?”
God does not change, He does not change His mind. He does not lie. If God says He is going to do something, He does it. I find that so encouraging. Going back to the story of Noah; God promised never to flood the earth again and He gave us a reminder of this – He gave us rainbows. Has God ever flooded the earth again? No, He hasn’t. He has kept His promise. And I love that. Every time I see a rainbow, I am reminded of God’s promises; I am reminded that He loves us, I am reminded that He is there.
I struggle with my relationship with God, I do. Not going to lie to you. This past week as I was away at a Christian Conference, I was able to reconnect with our loving Father. I was able to reconnect with the Father who never leaves us and never forsakes us. I was able to reconnect with the Father who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that I could be forgiven. It doesn’t mean that everything is fine and dandy, oh no, but I remember that Jesus died on that cross for me.
Although I have called myself a Christian for years, I don’t think I’ve been a Christian for years. I got baptised in February and as I was writing my testimony for it, I realised how little I believed in God and how little I believed in Jesus dying on that cross. That was at the beginning of my walk of faith. In the last two years, I know that God keeps His promises. I know that God loves me. I know that Jesus saved me. I know that I am not alone. I know that I have been justified and reconciled with my heavenly Father. And that’s quite cool.