Faith When You Hit Rock Bottom

August 31st, 2011

For us, the 11th year of our marriage has been our most challenging. My hubby and I have realized anew our dependency on the God who loves us personally. In short, we’ve had faith.

It seems the idea of faith is getting thrown around a lot these days. Phrases like “have faith in yourself,” “just have faith,” “believe it in faith,” or “speak it in faith!” are driving me batty. What do those clichés really mean anyway? How does it help when folks casually ramble off, “just have faith,” when I confess my marriage is in a ball of flames? (It doesn’t).

I believe that 99.9% of walking in faith is choosing to believe that God loves me. Every day, no matter what, just as I am. Even in the midst of my most heinous mischief. I know what you're thinking. You're wondering if God loves you every day no matter what. You're wondering if God notices your heinous mischief day after day, and if he still chooses to love you deeply and personally.

If you never wonder whether God loves you, this little article isn’t for you. It’s for those of us who have hit rock bottom, right there at Jesus’ feet. We bring nothing but shame to Jesus, day after day after day. We're the ones who have catastrophic failures in our Christian walk. It’s a wonder anyone loves us still, let alone God. We are the ones who hide our sin for a long while before stepping out into the light. No one has to tell us we are fallen people—we see the vileness of our heart everyday. And so the notion that God loves us every day, no matter what can get a bit too scandalous for our taste. It’s like hearing that Hitler’s mom was super proud of him—every day, no matter what—at the height of his power. It doesn’t feel right; it doesn’t compute so easily when you’ve met a horrible sinner in person. Especially when you wake up to see that person in your bathroom mirror. Every day. No matter what. There you are with morning breath, a sinner.

I wish it wasn’t always so hard for me to grasp the love of God, yet this is what he wants from me. He wants us to believe he exists and that loves us tremendously…still. As screwed up as we are. He is love, and he loves us.

So. Let’s all just calm down and rest in God’s love lest we run off ruining our lives trying to prove how evil we really are. Not that I’ve tried that or anything, but if I had tried that, I'd tell you that the plan isn't a good one. Don’t try this at home, people. Trust me, it won't feel as satisfying as you think to surprise people with how evil you can be.

In the end, no one will be surprised to know that human beings are inherently evil people with evil plans and evil plots to rule over one another. God said it many years ago and humanity's atrocities continue to affirm this: we are a fallen people. We will all die and turn into dust bunnies. Nothing good will come of our (fallen) attempts to prove how evil or how wonderful we are. Give it up. In the end none of that matters anyway.

Nothing matters except that you choose to believe that God loves you and that he offered his son’s death in exchange for your eternal damnation. Your accepting that gift means you understand that Jesus’ blood continues to wipe your slate clean, every day. God is not caught off guard by your actions. There's nothing you can do to make God love you any more and nothing you can do to make God love you any less. Just believe it. Every day, no matter what.

Grace lives in Kalamazoo, MI and is regional black campus ministries coordinator with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. You can read more posts from Grace at her blog.

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