Friday, November 14, 2008

"Please Help Me!"

I've been going through some old mail and came across a couple of e-mails between me and a woman who had read my story online. In her late thirties, she had fallen in love with a close friend and didn't know what to do with the feelings she was experiencing. She wrote that she loves Jesus and wants to serve him, but her feelings were so consuming her, they were pushing her away from God. "Please help me!" she begged.

Here is how I answered her (I've changed her name):

Hi Andrea! I'm glad my story touched you. I know God can help you just as He helped me. Our God is a gracious God who loves His children--even those of us who are or have been wayward. The truth is that we are all wayward in one way or another.

I was really encouraged a few days ago as I was once again reading in Luke. Simon Peter, one of Jesus' disciples, had been the first to say that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God. And yet Jesus said to him, "Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."

Jesus was praying for Peter, that his faith wouldn't fail and yet He knew it would. But, " …when you have turned back...." We have that option! We can turn back!

Paul was talking to the Corinthian church when he began listing all sorts of sinners and then he said, " And that is what some of you WERE…." (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) There is freedom! There is a way out! We don't have to give in to our lusts and passions. God can change us—our behaviour and our thoughts. There were people in the Corinthian church who had been like you and me and God changed them. That was no longer who they were.

It is so easy for a close friend to turn into the object of romance and sex. There is a closeness that cries for more. Sex is the ultimate expression of closeness. But God has told us that that degree of closeness is to be only for our spouse. So what does one do? We really need to guard how close we allow ourselves to get to others.

The only way I could deal with my passion and desire for Pearl was to walk away and end our friendship. It felt like I was dying. I have never felt such intense pain. Jesus said that to gain our lives we have to lose them. I think this is part of what He means. Choosing Him means death.

But even more, it means life! Nothing can compare to being filled with and surrounded by God's presence. The only way for you to come back to God is to make a decision to choose Him over your friend, your passions and your needs. When we do this we leave room for Him to begin filling us. I make it sound like it's something we can do. But we can't, as you've discovered. It's impossible. Our desires, passions, needs and hungers scream to be met and we haven't the strength.

So that's the second part of coming back to God. We put our focus on HIM, not our struggle. God loves you, Andrea. You know that in your head. So did I. But my heart didn't know it. I have spent the last six years pursuing that love, trying to grab hold of it, to know it with my heart and my whole being. I know that if we could really understand and KNOW that love of His, nothing else would attract us.

Start reading your Bible looking for evidence of God's love for you. Do a search to find all the passages that tell of His love. Write them out. Carry them with you. Soak yourself in them. Use your imagination to put yourself into those passages of God's love. Pray and beg Him to help you know His love in a way you've never known before. Pursue God and let Him fill every part of your day. Let Him be the one you are closest to.

Will this be easy? No. Will your thoughts always be pure? No. But keep turning back to God. Proverbs 24:16 says, "…for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity." The righteous fall. Peter fell! So did David and Moses and pretty near every hero of the Bible. What makes the difference between the righteous and the wicked? The righteous keep getting up and turning back to God.

I encourage you to do this. Don't wait until you've conquered your thoughts and put them under your control. You can't do this on your own. You need God to help you, and He's waiting to do just that.

I am praying for you, Andrea. Thank you for writing.

(Originally written in September, 2007)

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