Returning to the God of our Youth
For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. (Psalm 71:5)
Lately, many people I know have been in the struggle. In my house, we call it the process. Many of my friends are dealing with past hurts and pains that have decided to resurface. Recently, I went through it myself. It is deeply unsettling and uncomfortable to have to re-confront circumstances that have hurt you at a time in your life when you thought you were already over it. It usually happens when you’re on the verge of making a big transition or change. You are ready to launch into something new when slowly but surely old ways and habits start creeping in. The wounds are reopened. Many times the reopening of past hurts manifests itself as fear, anxiety or a sin issue.
As much as it sucks to go through this, I have to say that I understand it. I know for sure that the enemy will try to use this kind of thing to discourage us and to hold us back from attaining all that God has for us. He thinks that he is gaining ground in our lives when we find ourselves in this predicament. The amazing thing is that these are exactly the kinds of situations that God will allow in our lives to expose the root of our brokenness and to heal us at our core, in order that we may walk into the next season without all the baggage of our past weighing us down. The Lord will use these times to expose lies that we have believed, to speak His truth over us and to cause us to experience His love in a greater way. I have had the privilege of walking with one of my close friends through this process and I can’t tell you how powerful her prayers and her worship are, as she places her trust in God even in the midst of her fear and pain.
I have many friends and family members that have lost their faith along the way. I pray for these people more than I pray for anyone else. I had a dream about one of these people the other night. In my dream, we were reunited and they appeared to be younger than they are. While praying, I believe that God showed me that His desire is to restore innocence, purity and childlike faith in the lives of His sons and daughters that have wandered off. It became clear to me that the majority of those I know that have given up on the Lord started drifting off at some point in their youth. There was a time and a place where hurt and pain occurred and a decision was made that set off a chain reaction of events that gradually led the person away from God. Each individual has a different story. Some have suffered abuse, even abuse at the hands of other Christians. Some have experienced loss. Others bought into a lifestyle that contradicted their identity in Christ to achieve a sense of belonging and acceptance. But each story has a common thread. Each person found a temporary answer to the pain that they were put through, putting a thin band aid on a deep wound.
I believe that the band aids we have used to mask our pain are falling off, exposing our deep wounds for what they are. I believe that God is allowing this exposure and this resurfacing of pain to introduce true and lasting healing into our lives. Like a little child, I can picture some squirming and squealing as their heavenly daddy cleanses the deep gashes on our hearts. But we need to experience that brokenness before we can become whole.
For those who are walking with the Lord, I believe that this process is intended to mature us, to grow us and to cause us to experience deeper levels of freedom. For those who feel distant from God, the process is intended to call you home.