“Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need.” Luke 15:13-14
The Lord saved me when I was eight years old and I grew in faith and knowledge of the Word throughout middle and high school. But when I got to college, I did not stay close to Jesus. I did not have much experience in the dating realm so I naïvely entered into a relationship that was not good for me. He became the center of my world. After almost a year, we broke up and I was cast into a seemingly bottomless pit of depression. I thought that my life had come to an end at the age of 20. I didn’t want to do anything. I was hopeless and lost in the dark. I took comfort in food and sleep.
At one point, I remember feeling so low that the only thing that kept me from taking my life was my faith in Christ. I knew that He could help me, but I felt so far away from Him. How could He forgive me for all that I had done? I had deliberately turned my back on Him and all that I knew was right. I tried to read the Word of God and listen to Christian music and turn my thoughts toward God, but I was not certain that He forgave me.
In an effort to work my way back into His good favor and mend my broken heart, I started working at a Christian bookstore. I met a girl there who invited me to a Bible Study at her church. I eventually went with her. Their new pastor began to teach us things from the Word of God that I had never seen before but were clearly there. He thoroughly answered all our questions. My faith began to grow again. I began to understand Scripture more clearly and learned that the truths of the Gospel (Jesus’ life, death and resurrection on my behalf) are not just for salvation but for every day of a Christian’s life.
God’s sovereignty, His wisdom, and His covenant love (which is not based on my efforts but on the finished work of Christ) became precious truths to me and hope shimmered in my heart again. The fact that God allowed me to go through what I did while at college meant that he had a reason for it and a plan for His glory and for my good (Romans 8:28-39; 2 Corinthians 1:3-5). It was still sinful and I was wrong, but God is bigger than my mistakes and His grace is greater than my sin. He has clothed me in robes of Christ’s righteousness (2 Cor 5:21).
When I watch videos or hear stories like the one above, I can’t help but be moved by them. It’s my story. I’ve been the prodigal daughter lost in darkness groping for some small sign that I have not been discarded or rejected by my Savior. I have been at His feet weeping in terror that He would turn me away. I have felt His gentle touch as He lifted my soul and restored me to Himself. My heart has been (and is continually being) changed by His grace. I know His forgiveness. I have felt His love for me.
“If today you feel that sin is hateful to you, believe in Him who has said, ‘It is finished.’ Let me link your hand in mine. Let us come together, both of us, and say, ‘Here are two poor naked souls, good Lord; we cannot clothe ourselves,’ and He will give us a robe, for ‘it is finished.’ . . . ‘But must we not add tears to it?’ ‘No,’ says He, ‘no, it is finished, there is enough.’
Child of God, will you have Christ’s finished righteousness this morning, and will you rejoice in it more than you ever have before?”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Treasury of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, 1950), II:675. Style updated. (HT: Ray Ortlund)
My friend, if you are in that place of darkness and fear, turn to God. There is hope, unspeakable love, and peace beyond understanding in His presence. Come to Christ, come to His Word, come to the fellowship of true believers and find rest for your weary soul.
“And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” Luke 15:20-24