“Hey Rachel, it was great meeting you today, wanted you to know, all of your stories pumped me up! Keep speaking and telling them, and as you do, Jesus is going to keep giving you new ones to tell!”- Ryan
Everyone wants one of those, right?
But to be honest, you know what my first response was when I read this message?
I could do without another God ‘story’ right now.
You know, that story where you suffered and went through so much trial and God miraculously showed up?
Yeah, those kind of stories.
But for six months straight.
The last nine months of my life are full of stories on fire for the Lord.
Stories that in my wildest dreams I could have never made up or imagined.
The last nine months of my life have been trial after illness after complication.
It was six months on the field, in six different countries, in four different hospitals.
I experienced healings, the love of Christ so purely around me, and His presence stronger than I could dream of.
But please, I could do without another story right now.
Since when did I stop chasing after the heart of the God who chose me before I ever chose Him?
Since when did I want to become a ‘safe Christian’?
Since when did I want to just get by unnoticed?
Since when did I want the story to tell, but not the experience?
You see, I feel like that is the issue today with Christianity.
People want Jesus, but just on the surface level.
They want His saving grace.
They want a scripture that has been reduced to a formula that will provide them with some sort of personal growth.
But they don’t want to pick up their cross and follow Him on His terms.
They don’t want Jesus when it means it doesn’t benefit them.
‘Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me.’- Matthew 16:24.
In other words, will you continue to follow Christ even if your life doesn’t get any easier?
“Oh God, have I not been through enough?
Have I not experienced enough to share your love and majesty with people?
Can you not teach me a lesson in a different way?
How about giving me what I want?
Have you not stripped enough of Rachel away yet?”
Of course not.
And He will never be done stripping Rachel away until the day I meet Him in Heaven.
And for that, I am oh so thankful.
A relationship with Christ isn’t how do we grow more like Him, without being like Him.
A relationship with Christ isn’t about how do we grow into what we want, on our own terms.
A relationship with Christ is realizing that we, as imperfect beings, live and serve a perfect God.
And that through living and serving Him, we do whatever it is He asks.
We just need to get over ourselves and believe that He knows what He’s doing.
I mean, He did create man from mere dust…
I would say He knows what He’s doing.
Those six months on the field were rough.
They were scary.
I grew to the weakest I had ever been in my life.
But I consider those six months a blessing when most would consider them hell.
Those six months were uncomfortable, grueling, scary, and hard.
And in those six months, my relationship with the Lord grew immensely.
I learned to depend on Him for all things; that I merely am not strong enough without Him.
My faith and trust in Him grew immeasurable amounts.
I experienced His presence so strongly in ways that I’ll never forget.
And I learned that serving Him through all things is one of the greatest gifts of all.
No, following Christ is not always easy.
You will encounter struggles.
But you will also encounter an intimacy with the Lord that only you and Him will share.
He is a good God; a God of healing, blessings and love.
But He is also a God that wants all of you and will continue to chase after your heart, in any means possible.
So I ask you, do you want a formula to solve your problems?
Or do you want a real relationship with your Father, the Jesus you read about in the Bible, no matter what that may look like?
I know I’m ready for more stories.
I want THAT Jesus.