Estimated reading time: 5 minutes.
Yesterday afternoon, I stumbled across a journal entry from last October.
I never dreamed of sharing these words, but I hope you can find some comfort in them. God’s love NEVER fails:-)
October 27th, 2019
“The past two months have perhaps been some of the most difficult in my life.
And I don’t say that to beg for pitty. It is what it is. I know that.
But I also know that such circumstances are universal, and that all people go through thick more than thin. And we wish it wasn’t so. And I wondered why.
Every day I keep wondering what life would look like if all my ducks were in a row. If everything was back on track and I had everything figured out. And I don’t just wonder about it, I wish for it, because that alternative seems worlds better than the life I have right now.
What if my grades were higher? What if I got a full-ride scholarship to the college of my dreams? What if I was published tonight? What if I was on varsity soccer? What if I had a boyfriend? What if I was the most beautiful woman in the world? What if I understood everything, and the bible just made complete sense all the time? What if I was famous?
And quickly, I go down the path of superfluous thoughts. I think, “well, while we’re at it, I might as well add this.”
I wonder, what if I had 700 doughnuts with me right now and I could eat as many as I wanted but I would never get fat? What if I had the fluffiest dog alive and he cuddled with me every day and his name was Safari or Chuckles or something like that? What if I sold 983 billion books and I was the richest person alive and I had no fat and I had abs and I could do more than 10 push-ups? What if I was a world famous artist? What if…
And quickly, I have whittled away my very existence. Nothing that I wish for is unique to my personality. Sure, maybe the publishing part is, but even that does not fit me yet. If any of these came true, I would cease to be the person I am. Annabelle Healy would be gone forever, and that is what I wish for. What I want most is, essentially, for Annabelle Healy to be gone.
Now the other side of my mind says, “now, wait. Wait a second. You could still be Annabelle if you had a fluffy dog and some doughnuts. I mean, is that too much to ask?”
It is very much too much to ask.
Do you know what question should have preceded all those other questions? I should have thought, What if Jesus came back?
I should have thought, What if Jesus loves me? What if Jesus is with me right now? What if Jesus knows what he’s doing? What if he holds my hand?
I don’t ask these often because I know that he does. But I forget the “What If” part. It asks, what would you do about it? It asks, what is your response? And I know I don’t respond right.
You see, when I look at all the things that I could have—all the treasures of this life, most of which aren’t even tangible, like relationships and knowledge—I get distracted from the thing my heart aches for the most. I’m like Peter, walking atop the water, looking right at Jesus in that moment, and then the storm distracts me. Everything I don’t have distracts me.
Sometimes I feel like I don’t have love. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have success, or the hope of it. Sometimes, I look at my lonely, JV-level self and get mad—because I don’t have what I think I need.
I don’t have money. I have four dollars in my backpack for gum until February. I don’t have a boyfriend. I don’t get enough sleep. I don’t have food in my stomach most mornings because I’m late, and I don’t have a clear mind when reading scripture because I feel like twelve hundred things are pulling at me from twelve hundred different directions.
That is the storm.
And when I start to sink in the overwhelming qualities of this life—when I fall into my problems, my inadequacies, my desires, my dreams, my hopes, my failures, my frail foundation—a hand reaches into the water and pulls me out.
This is Jesus.
And this is the thing I’ve struggled most to remember in these last few months.
Jesus is all I need.
It’s a simple concept, really, I know it. Cliche, of course. But it’s so much more powerful than five basic words.
When I look at all the things I don’t have, I don’t think of them as problems anymore. I look at what I don’t have and I see Jesus.
I see Jesus filling that place in my life.
When I’m hungry, I know that Jesus was hungry. When I don’t understand, I know that Jesus does, and that I will one day. When I can’t reach the standard, when I fail or don’t make varsity or botch a test, I see the perfection that Jesus is. And I see the perfection he will make me to be one day.
When I see the storm, I see Jesus.
And when I see what I do have, I no longer see a foundation as firm as water on which my entire life is staked. Try building a house on top of a raging ocean. It’s pretty tricky. I see blessings, that abound only out of grace. I see the true source for the firmness of my foundation, Jesus’s faithfulness to me. I see Jesus standing out on the waves beside me.
And I see something else when I see the storm. I see Jesus’s power.
Don’t you know Jesus has calmed storms before? The man’s returned from the dead. He could call the storm off at any point. Right now, all the things that are happening, God could call off at any point. He has the power to give you fluffy puppies and doughnuts. Right now.
And he doesn’t.
But God is still good.
Because right now is better than any alternative in God’s eyes.
The storm serves its purpose. The storm was placed there by the King himself. And the storm needs to be there for Peter to look for Jesus.
That hand has pulled me up thousands of times. And every time I fall, Jesus pulls me up again. Why would I question that just once he might forget? He pursues us with a vigorous mentality that we can’t even comprehend, a desire so potent and so powerful. He’s willing to die just so you can be with him. He didn’t die so you would have all your ducks in a row. He died so you would see him—so you would know him.
So What If?
What are you going to do about it?
I’m going to look.
And I’m going to see Jesus.”
Six days after I wrote this journal entry, God blessed me with a publishing deal with Morgan James Publishing. Did I forget to mention that God’s love NEVER fails?