“These two and a half years in University have been pivotal in terms of my walk with God. It is definitely nothing I have done, but I would love to take the opportunity here to speak of a God who has patiently and loving wrought change in my life, so that He may have the honour and glory.
One of the most recent lessons I have been learning is the freedom I have to delight in other people. I have really struggled with the reality that God delights in us, regardless of how closely we walk with him, how obedient we are, or how religiously we keep our quiet times. I spent a few years hating myself because of my poor walk with Christ, believing that I had no right to expect answers to prayer when I couldn’t even pray daily. I questioned how much I could test God’s love and decided I was near the edge. I had been privileged in the way I had been taught the Bible from a young age and yet I had squandered it. This made my Christian life a constant source of pain and guilt.
I am so thankful to God that he didn’t want me to remain in this joyless relationship with Him. George spoke on the student weekend away last year about how we are justified, and went further to explain that God sees me as the girl who has always prayed and been delighted to read His Word. I was so overjoyed to hear this. The thought that God could still love me every day was freeing. But I think that my understanding has deepened since then as well. I had previously thought that God was despairing of me and, consequently, I became highly critical and judgemental of myself and others. However I have been shown in the Bible and through his people here at Beeston that my understanding of God’s attitude towards me was somewhat stunted. Actually God delights in me, and this has been a lesson that I have been so slow and reluctant to learn. I do not deserve it but I have a God who rejoices in me.
Before, I looked for the worst in others to somehow lessen my guilt and hoped that God could still love me if, when compared to them, I could prove myself to be better. But knowing now that I have a God who has pursued me with an everlasting love and rejoices in me, has shown me that I am free to rejoice in others. I am free to see God’s work in their lives and delight in it, because even if they are growing in patience and I am not God still loves us both. As I have begun slowly to do this, I can find so much to praise God for. I can now come to church and enjoy being with his people as I see us being changed, together, more and more into his likeness.