What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. ~ Matthew 10: 29-31
There I was, Bible in hand, a side-by-side with one column in Russian and one column in English, standing under a statue of Stalin. It was 1998 and I was in Belarus on a missions trip. In the marketplace, making balloon animals for the children and handing out fliers for that night’s service, I felt God. His presence was tangible.
That night after the service ended I went outside in the dusty courtyard, fenced in by chain links, and looked up to the sky. Crying, full of gratitude, for the people who came and heard a message of hope and love that they had never heard before. How could God use someone like me for such important work?
God is the same everywhere, I thought. People are the same too.
We all search for meaning. We all want to feel loved. We all need connection and recognition. We have a God-sized hole that only He can fill and when that round peg finally finds that round hole we’ve been trying to fill with so many other things, that breath of relief comes. And we feel whole.
I came home with a fire that was unquenchable. And then a few years passed and the flame became a flicker and that flicker was soon all but extinguished.
After that church showed it’s human frailties and I was hurt, I left, moved, married and carried on…and then the God-hole resurfaced. I needed to get back to church.
So I church shopped. Nothing felt right. My husband and I couldn’t agree on a denomination and I got discouraged. The disconnection it caused in our relationship wasn’t worth it. Why bother? We were busy anyways: two toddlers, a busy life, a plethora of other excuses.
And without God filling the hole, I became an A-hole.
Continually frustrated. Bursts of anger. Resentment started creeping in. I didn’t like feeling that way so I found other ways to cope with life. Escape life for a little while. Drown out the pain. Under the guise of “Happy Hour” I felt relief and the A-Hole was filled with A-lcohol. And it worked for A-while.
Until it didn’t work.
For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all. ~ Luke 8:17
The secret is, there are no secrets. God knows our hearts and His is continually woo-ing us back to Him. He is not hiding in a far off location. He is not trying to make it difficult to find Him. It’s like playing hide and seek with a two-year-old. They cover their eyes and think you can’t see them, and then you wander around saying, “Where is Amy? Hmmmm, I just don’t see her!”
Sometimes we’re the one covering our eyes thinking God doesn’t see us and sometimes we’re the one pretending we don’t see God, and He’s right there in front of us.
God does not want to make it difficult for us to find Him. So despite my best efforts to fill the G-hole with A-solution, it didn’t work.
But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. Isaiah 59:2
And that is what this Lenten Love Challenge is all about. It is our beliefs about ourselves in relation to God that cause Him to seem distant. It’s trying to fill the G-hole with other things. W-ork, F-ood, S-ex, A-mbition, R-elationships, M-oney.
None of those fit quite right.
Then when they don’t work, we feel ashamed. We create blocks to G-od. We hide. The things we have done that are keeping His love hidden from us are of our doing. It’s rooted in the belief that we have to do something to earn His favor. It’s feeling ashamed of being human and frail and fallible. It’s the guilt we carry from mistakes we’ve made and the pain of feeling we should have known better.
Even Paul experienced this when he says in Romans 8, I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
It’s time to stop believing the lies that are keeping you from experiencing God’s love. So you found a few ways that don’t work to fill the G-hole. Great! Now you know. And when we know better, we do better.
It’s time to settle the matter in your heart that nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate you from the Love of God. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. He is not hiding. He is in plain sight. Remove the blocks. Take your hands off your eyes.
Seek God. Allow Him to fill Your God-hole. Know you are loved. Fully. Completely. As you are. Nothing you have done, nothing you can do, nothing you are hoping you’ll accomplish and nothing you wish you hadn’t done in the past is preventing His love and His presence from showing up to you today. Seek him. And He will be found.
Day 36 Lenten Love Prayer:
God forgive me for the times I’ve been an A-hole because I haven’t sought you and filled my God-hole. Forgive me for trying to cope with life in unhealthy ways and help me to see that only You can fill that void in my heart. I know it sounds so trite to me at times. But it’s true. You are hiding in plain sight. You are not trying to make it difficult to find You. May I look in the eyes of another and see you today. May I see you in the stars. May I feel you in the hand of another. May I sense your presence in conversations I have. May I see coincidences as Your way of remaining anonymous. Help me to remove the blocks that I’ve created in my mind by believing You need me to do or be something to find You. Help me to rest in the fact that You never left. You are as close now as You ever were. Thank you that nothing can separate me from Your love.
Day 36 Scripture:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8: 38-39