Can God change your life in 30 seconds? He did mine. It only took 30 seconds of two people praying over me before I experienced such an overwhelming sense of peace that I laid back and spent the next 5-10 minutes basking in God’s love for me. In that time His love became more personal and relational than I’d ever experienced before as He eliminated previously insurmountable barriers I had put up between myself and his love.
For years I’ve struggled with the idea that when I fall into sin or when I don’t do everything right, that I’m preventing God from being able to love me. Slowly, over time, I’ve come to believe (i.e. think) that God’s love for me is perfect and I do not need to earn it. That knowledge though, was often completely at war with my feelings. While theoretically I knew that Gods love for me was unconditional, every time I fell short of the (impossibly high) bar I set for myself, my heart would be freaking out. I was constantly wondering if this or that was the sin that was finally going to convince Him to give up on me. I had spent several years dealing with depression and seeking counseling to deal with that fear; but, no matter how hard I tried, I was still plagued by it.
To add some more context, my transformative prayer session happened at the end of a retreat for the Following Christ course that was being run by the ChristLife Young Adult Community. The focus of the retreat was Spiritual Warfare—the ways that our flesh, the world, and the devil try to keep us from God. There were several points that really struck me. I already knew that my habits and patterns of behavior, sin and tendency toward it put roadblocks between me and God. But I was reminded that I’m more than a bit of a perfectionist and I had bought into the lie the world tells that God’s ability to love me is dependent on me being perfect or having everything together. I also realized that Satan exploited my willingness to believe that lie to try and keep me separated from God.
While it was a necessary foundation, this knowledge wasn’t ultimately what actually changed my heart. After the talks were finished, all of the retreatants took the time to actually ask God to overcome the barriers in our lives that keep us from Him. It was a time of really surrendering to Him—recognizing that my individual efforts were not enough—and inviting the power of the Holy Spirit to be at work in my heart. It was with this preparation that I went and sought prayer and intersession from a couple friends. It took only 30 seconds before God stepped in to finish the work He had been doing in my heart all day.
There’s something indescribably good about really understanding that God loves me. After my conversion experience as I walked back to the main retreat room, a friend stopped me to say that I was glowing – radiating the joy that I had just experienced. In the weeks since, I can say that God has really continued to work. The fear that God will stop loving me because I screw something up has gone from an overwhelming shoutto more of an annoying whisper that is pretty easily dismissed.
The bottom line; no matter how convinced we are that we can somehow make God stop loving us, we’re wrong. He continually pursues each of us and looks to be in relationship so he can show us just how much he loves us. Whether you can clearly see it or not, he’s pursuing you right now. It may not happen overnight; but, He will work given a little bit of space. I pray that when He does that you will experience the same joy I have in both knowing AND feeling his love for you.
Praise be to God!