“So you’ve been disillusioned by people, your circumstances, maybe even God. . . but will that really matter when you’re dead?”
Jennifer squirmed in the pew as she heard those words asked from the pulpit.
Would this service just get over with already? It was all she could do to sit there and not jump up and run screaming from the building.
This was the last place she had wanted to be. She should’ve known better than to visit her parents on a weekend! What was she thinking?
Jennifer had grown up in a very religious home; as she would say, her parents were Jesus freaks! Even though she had spent eighteen years in their home, she had never bought into their belief system. To her it was just a bunch of spiritual jargon, mixed in with a church full of hypocrites.
She’d tried in high school but then she watched her church being torn apart from an affair that her youth pastor had with one of her friends and that was it for her, she was done. She wanted nothing more to do with God, her parents or the church.
When she graduated high school she couldn’t get out of there fast enough. She had enjoyed her college years and had found a well paying job far from her hometown. It had been years since she had been home and even now she couldn’t say why she’d decided to come.
But she had and now she found herself regretting that decision . . .
Once the service was finally over, she still wasn’t free to leave. Her parents had to introduce her to all of their friends. With a smile plastered on her face, she greeted their friends and quietly swore to herself that hell would freeze over before she would ever set foot in a church again.
As usual, her mom had fixed a wonderful Sunday dinner - she had to admit that was something she missed. Her parents both laid down for their Sunday afternoon nap and Jennifer found herself alone with her thoughts. She was restless. She didn’t want to admit it but that question the pastor had asked was niggling at here. Why could she not just let it go?
She decided to go for a walk and clear her head.
But the question followed her like a faithful dog. What would happen to her when she died? She hadn’t really given that much thought since she had left home. She had done everything in her power to get away from all this religious junk and now here she was again.
As Jennifer continued her walk, a verse from her childhood popped into her mind. She couldn’t believe she even remembered it. It had been years since she had thought of it. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT)
Did he really love her? Was she judging God by other people and their behavior instead of seeing him for who he really was? Did God really love her enough to send His Son to die for her?
What if it was really true? Did she dare believe it?
Her heart began to pound inside her chest and she felt her legs give way as the thoughts in her head began to overwhelm her. Silently she cried out, “God, if you are up there and if you hear me. I want to believe in you, I really do but it just seems so hard. I’ve seen so many people around me say they believe in you but live like you don’t exist.”
“People I’ve trusted in my life, who claim to be your children, have disappointed me and I can’t help but feel like you will let me down too. And to be really honest . . . I never thought that you would ever come through for me.”
“But are you saying that you did come through for me by sending your son to die for me? I’ve never thought about it from that point of view before . . .”
“God I want to believe in you, I really do . . . help me?”
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