The Bridge that Holds True: A Story of Beginning a Relationship that Works and Lasts
When I opened my soul to Jesus at age 20, and no longer relied on any of myself to make my life work, a great darkness was lifted from my mind and my heart. It was as if I were just born: the sky was brighter, the birdsong was more cheerful, the grass was greener and I felt so free, loved and alive. For the first time, I felt fully accepted and fully forgiven. Welcomed by the One who knew me to my core and loved me still. I felt connected to all that was around me. For the first time I felt whole: forgiven of all my shame and guilt, free, accepted and loved.
For the first couple of months I was warm and safe, content and filled inside. I had a joy in life itself and it was so wonderful! All that I wanted to do was to tell everyone about this fantastic inner life and love with God that was available to everyone. My only fear was to lose this connectedness and go back to the empty inner despair I had felt previously for such a long time. I felt so happy and free that it was hard to believe that it was possible for it to last, but that connection did last. For forty-four years I have known Christ in my spirit and life and that inner spark of life has never died.
Challenges to my faith began to come. Social challenges came first; when I visited friends in their college dorms and apartments they were no longer relaxed around me. They didn’t know what to think of my sudden changes in desires. Instead of partying, I wanted to go to prayer meetings. Instead of rock concerts, I went to Bible studies. I was starving for all things spiritual and couldn’t get enough. Talk of Jesus, and how wonderful He is, was always at the forefront of my tongue. I couldn’t “shut up” about Him! My friends gossiped that I was becoming a nun or an undercover narcotics agent. People began to pull away from me, including my long-term boyfriend, as fellow believers began to welcome me to their gatherings. Some of the believers who had grown up in church didn’t know how to relate to my demeanor, dress and lifestyle, even though that was changing rapidly. The feeling was mutual: suddenly I was exposed to this hidden world of Christian music, Christian events, college groups like Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, and Christian conventions like Urbana.
I had so much joy, love and peace inside that I grieved for my roommates and my friends who new nothing of this life and its fullness. I knew how they silently suffered inside, isolated and dead amidst all the activity and false excitement of their craving. Always searching, just going from one party or event to the next, never satisfied or filled. Disappointed with life, again, in the morning. Especially Sunday morning.
I wanted them to know about His love and life that was always there, ready to save, heal and deliver from the darkness within and without. I didn’t know what to do, so I ended up becoming a “Jesus freak” who wore statement buttons and posted day-glow Bible verses on the ceiling of my shared college room. There was a fad in Christianity then, as there always is, and this one was called “the Power of Praise”. It misrepresented spiritual life this way: If I control my mind and my words and do not allow negative thoughts in my mind or negative words on my lips, I will control my world by “speaking into existence” only good things. In its essence we want to play God rather than seek to know God. This distorted my relationship with God, for a time. That is where we go, continually, as human beings: trying to know how to be god, rather than seeking a relationship with God. Control instead of relationship. Control, although an illusion, seems possible, but a relationship with an Infinite and Personal God is too difficult to even attempt. But isn’t that the message of the Good News of Christ? God made a Way through the life, death and resurrection of His one and only Son, Jesus the Messiah, so that we could be redeemed from spiritual death to spiritual life and eternity with a loving God. “ For the first time, we can have a relationship with a totally safe, healthy Being who is able to love us just as we are.”
The relationship will still have struggles, because we will not be perfectly safe, loving or pure, but God will never leave us or abandon us (Hebrews 13:5) and He will always make a way for us to stay close. That is the message of Our Lord’s life and death: it doesn’t matter where you are now, I still want you and I am able to love you and bridge the gap between us, if you are willing. “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you shall find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16 and Matthew 11:29-30). For My yoke is easy and My load is light.” Jesus made a way where there was no way. “All we, like sheep, have wandered off; we have turned, each one of us, to our own way, but the Lord has laid on Him (Jesus) the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53). All the darkness of this world, within and through generations of human beings, was paid for in the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God can be just and righteous and always good, and still have a relationship with us because of God the Son, Jesus.
“I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John chapter 14:6).