The God Who Won't Give Up
Dawn Xiana Moon, originally published on RelevantMagazine.com
God is faithful. Christians say this so often that it’s practically cliché, but stop and think about that phrase for a minute (or more than a minute). God is faithful.
In many ways this past year has been one of the most trying I’ve ever experienced, from relational problems with my parents to dealing with my own inadequacies and failures to issues of insecurity and trust in my relationship with God. Yet as I look back I realize just how faithful, how unpredictable, how loving he is. Last January my journal was filled with prayers that God would make himself real to me, that I would understand him on an emotional level rather than a solely intellectual one. I grew up in a Christian home and took my faith seriously at an early age, so I’ve long been able to give the theologically correct — or at least reasonable — answers; my problem has been reaching an emotional understanding of God’s love. I never wandered from the faith and rarely did anything society deemed “bad,” so I’ve always had a problem understanding the gospel and my need for forgiveness. After all, what did I need to be forgiven for?
This spring I went through a period of depression after realizing how much time I’d wasted during four years of college, academically and relationally; I’d screwed up significant areas in my life and no longer had another chance to redeem them. And the state of affairs was entirely my fault. There was no one else to blame. Suddenly verses from Ephesians 2 became more poignant, more relevant than they’d ever been: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins... but because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.” I couldn’t forgive myself — I’d tried and failed. What I needed was forgiveness, the knowledge of forgiveness, from the One who refused to give up even though I’d given up on myself. And after almost 22 years, I finally understood why I, even I, needed the gospel. “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” — even though I’d screwed up, God wasn’t through with me. What a promise! God knew I was going to fail miserably but had plans — from the very beginning — to use me in spite of my weaknesses.
And what plans he has. If you’d told me a year ago that I would have spent a summer in Paris and would be planning to go back for a year with Campus Crusade for Christ, I’d have been surprised. If you’d told me that a close friend would become my best friend and then my boyfriend my reaction would have been closer to disbelief — I never saw that one coming, though I’ve seen God work in the process of bringing us together despite the frustration and emotions involved. He’s answered prayers that I would learn the meaning of community and how to rely on others rather than just on myself, and he’s used me in ways I’m just beginning to see. I’m so thankful. We have a Father who knows us intimately, who allows us to face seasons of hardship and brokenness but refuses to leave us in despair. For he is faithful.