“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;
I was found by those who did not seek me.
To a nation that did not call on my name,
I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.'” Isaiah 65:1 NIV
Growing up, I thought I didn’t need a savior. I didn’t try to find God, because I thought I could make it on my own. This illusion lasted until the quote above became the reality of my life.
The point I want to make here is that we cannot save ourselves. We can neither survive on our own, nor can we find God on our own. Both, our life and our success in finding him, lie in his hands. He is the one revealing himself to us and He is the one who gives us every single day of our lives. When we claim, we did something on our own — even believing in or seeking God — we are only fooling ourselves. However, God is good and He is chasing after us until we are saved. And to strengthen your trust in the Lord, I want to share my story with you.
“Save Yourself” Results In Losing Yourself
The world tells you to be strong, independent and self-determined. According to them, relying on others or showing weakness is the worst thing you can do. You need to make it on your own, because no one is trustworthy except yourself. Now get out there and live your life! — And fail.
This is what happened to me. I tried very hard to fit into this world; to adapt and follow all the rules. While growing up, I learned to function the way everyone expected me to. I worked hard to get good marks and learned the code of conduct to leave a good impression. At first, that seemed to work out fine. The people around me saw me as self-confident and reliable. I even earned praises from the world that made me think that I did a good job. As for God, I believed the lies of the world that the Bible doesn’t make sense and that only science holds the whole truth. I was blinded by the opinions of our modern culture and followed the crowd without looking to the left or the right.
However, we were not made to live in this way. Our lives were never meant to be apart from God! As a result, chasing after this world will bring us to our knees. It will tear us apart on the inside until we can’t breathe anymore. Then, when there is nothing left; when we are on the floor and the world as turned their backs on us; only then will we finally look to Savior.
In my case, the downfall came slowly. It was a progress that went on for years before it overwhelmed me.
I Was Loosing My Footing …
When I was a child, I always dreamed about being special and saving the world. All I wanted was to be a superhero, rescuing those in need. This little childhood wish, as well as my childhood faith, faded away as I grew up though. The strict plan of the world about how much you have to work to get to the top preoccupied me. It drowned out even the last bit of my resistance.
From time to time, there was a feeling inside of me that left me wondering if God did exist. It was like a wispering voice in my heart. But the roar of the world was louder. Hence, I didn’t pay attention. Instead, I kept running away from God, chasing after the empty promises the world offered me. And whenever I approved of what other people said, giving in to their opinions to remain accepted, I walked further away from who I was. I convinced myself that what everyone else did was what I wanted, too. As a result, I ran away until I was completely lost.
As if this wasn’t enough, the world continuously worked on destroying me. You see, living in a world where everyone is just looking out for themselves is cruel. Some people will always envy you and for their own benefit start using, hurting or humiliating you. Others are so infiltrated by our culture that they will take away all you really care about to make you focus on their goals again. They won’t let your breathe or give you the time to even think about seeking and finding God. All that matters is the here and now and material things like money.
… And Got Knocked Down
In a way, I experienced both of the above types of people. Those who called themselves my friends took advantage of my sociality. And whenever I fell in love with a boy who wasn’t rich or fancy (which was every time), I would feel the disapproval around me. The answer of the world to such situations is “Get over it!” and I did my best to follow this advice. I swallowed all that hurt me and bottled it up inside. But just like a real bottle is not endlessly fillable, so you also can endure only so much pain.
The time came, when I couldn’t take it anymore. The dam broke, throwing me to the ground and leaving me helpless and crying like a baby. The worst part was, that there was no one near by who could have comforted me. As a result, there was nothing but emptiness inside my heart. This giant hole made me start digging my nails into my arms and scratching myself (thank God not hard enough to leave scars!). It was a desperate try to compensate the hollowness; to know that I am still alive and capable of feeling something. I never thought a hole inside of you could hurt so much, but it does.
And despite all my suffering, I did not try to find God who could have rescued me in an instant. The echo of Satan’s lies in my head were yet too loud, saying “Don’t show your weakness!”, “Keep functioning!” and “You’re all alone!” For them to fall silent, I needed a real Savior: someone who would hunt me down in the darkness and pull me out of my pit, giving me hope and the strength to stand again.
Then I Learned How To Find God
As I was crawling in the shadows, not knowing where to go, I lost the last bit of my hope. I started falling into the black with nothing to hold on to. In those days, everything seemed worthless and I didn’t even want to try anymore. All I wanted was to hide in the darkness and disappear, never to come back again. Thinking back, I often get goosebumps at the thought of how welcoming the darkness seemed to me. As if it would comfort me while driving me into suicide…
One day though, when I was at my lowest, I woke up with a strange resolve. From one day to the other, I was determined to fight back. I still had no strength, but somehow I knew that I would make it out of that pit. It was as if someone had pulled me out of the gorge of death and placed me onto my feet in front of it. For the first time in days I was standing again and saw some light.
This came not from myself, because I was not capable of such positive thoughts back then. In fact, whenever I listened to songs, all I heard was the negative side. To me it was as if that’s all they were about. Thus, there was no way for me to find this strength on my own! It was placed before me by God, our Father, in his perfect love for us.
Soon afterwards, I watched a music video to the song “Stars” by Skillet and all of the sudden felt a warmth in my heart. It was as if God said to me, “See, I am holding your heart in my hand and I will not let you fall.”
That was the starting point of me trying to find my way back to God. It was the beginning of a journey that led me through the desert and around many corners. I had to give up a lot; to turn my back on everything I had believed until then, but it was worth it! This journey went on for 72 days until I was finally born again. At the time, it seemed like I was just wandering about, but now I know that everything was perfectly planned out by God. He made sure that I found him in the end.
If you want to read more about how much I’ve changed, feel free to check out my Being Born Again post.
What I Want To Tell You With This Story
Looking at my story, it should be evident that it doesn’t need our initiative to find God. In fact, the initiative is always on his side. That is why it says,
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT
Jesus is the initiator of our faith. Without him, there would be no savlation and no one could reach out to God for help. But the good news is that Jesus is alive! He is here with us and he rescues! All your life, He is chasing after you, trying to get your attention. Thus, when you are searching for God, He put this desire into your heart. And since He wants you to seek him, you will also find God. I know that because Jesus himself declares,
For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. John 6:44 NLT
When you are drawn to Jesus, trying to find him, you will be rescued. Even more than that! You will also remain close to God because He promises,
And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me. Jeremiah 32_40 NLT
Therefore, when you are earnestly searching for God, rest assured that you will find him. He will not stay hidden forever and even though it seems like you’re wandering about, your path to find God has been set out for you and you will get to the end of it. Throughout your whole life, Jesus has been chasing after you. His love surrounded you long before you were born and because of that, He sacrificed himself on the cross. With this sacrifice, He opened the door to the arms of our heavenly Father who will soon comfort you with his perfect love.
So, do not lose hope because it doesn’t matter where you are, God will always find you!