Today is #AshWednesday which basically kicks off the Lenten season for Catholic and Orthodox Christians around the world. While I am not Catholic, I am Christian and do have a certain love for the mother Church which draws me to observe her holidays along with the rest of my brothers and sisters in the faith.
In the spirit of the season, and considering that I have not shared much in the way of my faith on here for a while, I do want to share with you all what happened on Sunday during the church service and how God sent a personal message of love and reassurance to me. Haters will say it’s photoshop.
But really let me give a bit of a background to it. Last week was an exceptionally heavy one for me, with a member of my family in hospital, some decisions I’m in the middle of making weighing on me and other things going on with work, business. Add to that the fact that I had recently been put in a leadership position in my church and over the last few weeks it had been exceptionally rocky even though we were also seeing visible results. However, last Saturday, I had one of the worst meetings ever, a complete chaotic disaster that was eventually resolved but which left such a bitter taste in my mouth that I began to reevaluate my ability to even continue in the task. I went home that day angry and refusing to speak to anyone, including my girlfriend. I was thinking seriously of either quitting or distancing myself from certain people in the short term.
The next morning, Sunday, I woke up very early and prayed to God for some sense of what to do. I was frustrated, I was tired and everything about that week had all come crashing on my shoulders. I carried that weight with me to church and tried to be as cordial and civil as I could with everyone without really engaging. My aim was just to come in, worship and slip out quietly.
After the hymns, the lady that came up to take the announcements suddenly stopped and said that the Holy Spirit gave her a message for someone in the church this morning. That the person came into church with a heavy burden in their heart and God wanted to tell them it was alright. And then, while I was wondering if it was really me the message came for, she added that the person was a brother, that God said you love music and that hymns particularly speak to you. And that because of all you have in your heart that God wants the whole church to sing a particular hymn just to comfort you. At that point, I knew the message was for me. But just to drive it in, the hymn that was sung was “I need no other argument, I need no other plea” which if you know the lyrics of it, spoke so powerfully to everything I was feeling at that moment.
As the whole church sang, I broke down in my chair and just cried. Tears ran down my cheek as I felt the overwhelming love of Christ for me displayed so expressly and freely. I had to leave to the bathroom to wash and dry my tear soaked face at the end. But when I came back, I felt lighter. The burden was gone and my whole being was at peace. At the end of the service, I told the lady that the message she sent was for me. I was the only one who told her that. And she said at some level she sensed it but was not sure. But she was glad she knew.
I share that story to emphasize a point. God is not impersonal and far away. He is close and He cares. If He feels remote to you, you might be the one who is running from Him. Ours is a God who loves and loves deeply and I’m a witness to it.
I hope that knowledge encourages someone as we enter into Lent and in your whole Christian walk generally. And if you are someone who does not believe at all, trust me, I’m not telling you stories when I say that God is real and He is the embodiment of love.