It’s been 2 months since DTS ended. Probably a good time to wrap up all updates with a final one. Here’s what I would tell you, if I had a few minutes to summarize 185 days of my life.
Yes, I could start on the incredible cultural exchange I had living with 8 other nationalities under one roof, but that would be just scratching the surface (it was an incredible experience and I love my new friends, but no, that’s not the essence of those 185 days). I could talk about some of our amazing exploits as a team, the encounters we had, the miracles we saw, the gargantuan obstacles that we overcame and grew through as a team, and the 101 incidents of God speaking to me (wait, that’s actually getting close).
If I only had a few minutes of time, however, I would tell you this:
I came just an inch deeper into contact with unconditional love, the divine sort that no human being can ever give, or actually even begin to grasp just how much we really need.
If one started spending some time with the Creator of the Universe and of all mankind with a stilled and receptive heart, what does one expect to hear? I expected many things, among which included (but not exhaustively) the blueprint for my life and how I can become a better person.
But God was not interested in telling me how I can become a better person. Instead, He wanted me to know this:
“I love you more than you can ever know. I love you just as you are. I delight in you. There is nothing more you can do to earn My love.”
It takes a really stilled and receptive heart for that message to sink as deep as is needed, and still deeper it needs to go even after.
Time and time again, God spoke, and He had the same words for me. You see, it’s easy to think you know the Creator of the Universe loves you deeply, wholly and unconditionally after having all the encounters with Him that I’ve had, but that message, it seems, gets squelched out much too easily by the hundred and one distractions life can throw at you, not to mention some voices that are adamant at insisting that His love is not true.
The reason He wasn’t telling me how I could be a better person was this – I can only really start moving in that direction after I have received His love. I’ve already spent too much of my life successfully out-performing majority of the human populace and having my ego inflated with accolades and achievement, Christian ones included. I’ve spent sufficient time working on me to clean up all the inner messes created from years past and come as squeaky clean as I can. I’ve been told excessive times, through direct and indirect ways, that I need to get better, do better, be better.
But that wasn’t His plan for this trip halfway around the world.
I left for a 185 day adventure expecting a transformational kind of experience. I got what I hoped for. It just didn’t come the way I expected it to.
It wasn’t some show-stopping miracle, some earthquake, fire and thunderstorm encounter, or some preacher singling me out during a sermon and delivering some stomach-flipping prophetic utterances (I wouldn’t half mind if any of that happened, actually).
God’s love came, instead, as whispered messages of love in clouds and dandelions, as gentle tugs on my heart from unremarkable little incidents, through words and written notes from newfound friends (and family in a way), and most strikingly, as an almost tangible hug and an invitation to dance with my Creator during worship.
God’s love came as crashing waves and a torrential downpour as I sat crying in lecture because I connected the dots and understood the roots of my sense of unloveliness. It came as I forgave people who have hurt me deeply and as I discovered new ones to forgive. It came as I uncovered and experienced grandfatherly love and motherly love in a way I’ve not previously known.
It comes now as I live daily, stripped of any sense of importance from my surroundings, humbled by the phase of life I am in, and learning to rest my loveliness in my Abba Father, in Jesus Christ alone. It comes as I battle the daily temptation to skip spending time with my Creator and allow the mostly gentle, sometimes urgent, and occasionally insistent, persuasion of the Holy Spirit to win over.
I invite you, if you’re a hungry soul like mine, in search of truth that is relevant yet unshakable and foundational to all existence, to come and know the One who made you. Satisfaction comes only from a relationship with Him; fulfillment, from knowing Him and being known by Him; and life, from Him who created life itself and sustains it alone.