In high school after Lito (my then boyfriend, now husband) baptized me, I began exploring my faith. We were 17 years old.
My pastor at the time, Don Hargis, encouraged us to find a life verse from the Bible for ourselves. Something that would stand as a personal creed.
Maybe you have one?
I quickly adopted Psalm 73: 25-26. It was a romantic notion equipped with a full bodied declaration of love and devotion.
“Whom have I in Heaven but You, and Earth has nothing I desire besides you. Though my flesh and my heart may fail, God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
It worked for me.
But a funny thing happens between adolescent discovery and middle aged acceptance.
Your vision shifts from a magical and confusing kaleidoscope to a detailed set of binoculars- which although requires constant adjusting in the focus department, can now see things more clearly and at a greater distance. By now, you’ve learned the nature and pattern of this cruel and captivating world.
You’ve heard the sermons, read the books, watched the rise and fall and repentance of fellow brothers and sisters battling their selfish natures.
Over my lifetime (of 34 years) I have experienced some wonderful things. With that being said, I’ve also experienced an incredible amount of pain and suffering. Sadly, we have all had our fair share of unique suffering.
More often than not, our negative experiences shape us. Don’t believe me? Look at how much it would cost you to go to therapy for a year.
We are deeply broken by our traumas, both self-inflicted and by others. With their blunt force and sharp edges we are shaped, against our will, into a hesitant, wounded, and sometimes hardened creature, constantly in search of respite.
In search of a safe place where we can finally experience peace. Experience reconciliation with the pain. We hurt because we were hurt. This may sound depressingly dark and morbid. It’s meant to. We need to open our eyes.
There is a song you may have heard on the radio by Passenger called, “Let Her Go”. The chorus is reflective of our human nature.
“Well you only need the light when it’s burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go
Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
Only hate the road when you’re missing home
Only know you love her when you let her go
And you let her go”
When we became sinners, we offset the balance. We became creatures of longing and regret. Because no matter how hard we strive, how many loves we tuck into our hearts, how many pills we take, therapy sessions we achieve, cliffs we jump off of, activities we volunteer for, people we serve, church services we attend…
We cannot fill that unquenchable void. The void where God once lived. We have been separated from our God, our wholeness, by our sin.
However, we behave as the victim of life’s attacks. We justify our behaviors because of the former behaviors of others. What we aren’t doing is admitting our very obvious personal depravity.
Who needs a savior to redeem them when there is nothing, admittedly, to be redeemed?!
The key is to recognize and proclaim that you are the problem. You have a problem. And Jesus is the solution. He did what we couldn’t (died on a cross without having sinned) so that we could have what we’ve always needed. Him. Salvation. He took the punishment of our inescapable depravity so we could walk free in true love. What you are longing for is who you were meant to be and who you were meant to be with.
I adore God’s intelligence and wit. His wisdom is delightful as He unveils it to me.
All those years ago, I was drawn to those two verses. All of those years I held them as sacred vows. But why?
Today God pulled the curtain back. I was only seeing what I wanted to see. What I failed to notice were the 4 verses before it. The verses that completed my life verse.
“When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.
Yet I am always with you;
You hold me by your right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in Heaven but You?
And Earth has nothing I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.”
Psalm 73: 21-26
From my admitted state of temporary brokenness I was made whole for eternity. Notice it doesn’t say I receive reconciliation for my nature on Earth. It says I am a mess, but he accepts me in this state.
He holds my hand and guides me through it all. THEN He will take me into glory. As a result of that, my original life verses are born. The declaration is well deserved.
The healing begins on Earth and ends complete in Heaven when we confess our nature and accept His.
THAT is my life verse.
I would love to hear yours.