"...and I will be with you always, even to the ends of the earth."
~ Matthew 28:20
Someone asked me once when was the first time that I knew about Jesus? Knowing the person, and the person's faith background, I know the question was more about my salvation, and wanted a "saving" story. Some faith traditions focus on the moment that a person accepts Christ as part of their salvation story.
I just remember telling the person, "I don't ever know a time when I didn't know who Jesus."
I'm pretty sure that is not the answer the person was looking for.
I grew up in a family where my grandfather was a pastor, and my dad and his brothers often sang in church, or would sing hymns when they were together. Additionally, when I was young, my first grade teacher was married to the pastor of the church that our family lived next door to. I remember Vacation Bible School and songs we learned as children that often told of Biblical stories. I just don't ever remember a time when I didn't know who God or Jesus was.
Still, I hadn't answered the question the way that my friend had hoped.
Finally I then shared about a time in my life that I felt so very distant from God and what that felt like. A time that was very dark in my life, and I couldn't understand how I couldn't seem to find comfort in the prayers that I was praying, or the faith that I had always seemed to depend upon.
I think at this point my friend was really not following where I was going in my answer. "So, you struggle?"
"Yes! I think that if all of us are honest with ourselves, there have been, or will be, moments where we may struggle. That's when we are to remember the words, 'I will be with you always, even unto the ends of the earth.'"
Our relationship with God, and especially Jesus, is one that is unique. It takes many forms, and frankly, I'm grateful for our own personal journeys. It reminds me that God is present, but that no matter what our situation, or how we are feeling, Jesus will always be present as well.
Our relationship with God is meant to be easy, and simply filled with the knowledge that God will always be near.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.