Two weeks ago I felt God tell me, very clearly, to make a choice concerning an area in my life that had become gray. He told me to choose his path, or else I’d begin walking away from him. This clarity gave me the courage I needed to make the choice to walk the narrow path. But even so, I spent the last two weeks pouting like a three-year-old in timeout.
Sure God, I thought, I’ll do what you want, because I don’t want to turn away from you . . . but I’m not going to like it. I’m not going to hang out with you now and act like I’m super happy about everything. Nope.
And just to prove it to God, I wandered around in a hazy, distracted, anxious mess, moving from event to event, hoping to ignore him until I felt better about things. I wanted to do God’s will, but it was more out of exhausted, reluctant obedience than out of love.
This resentment toward God began spreading into a sort of self-involved slow burn that affected everyone around me. Just ask my coworkers. Or my roommate. They were probably contemplating pushing me off the roof at some point. I was distracted, unable to focus, unable to write or speak with any sort of clarity. It felt like someone put a block on my brain. But it didn’t matter. In my mopey stubbornness, I wasn’t about to ask God for help.
Of course God started to really reveal himself to me anyway, even in the midst of my passive aggressive haze.
One night, in my desire not to deal with things, I sulked over to the local music store. I was looking at new guitars (not because I can afford one, but because it seemed like the best distraction I could come up with).
The salesman, Jose, who looked about 15, stood next to me in a small, humidified room in the center of the store expounding the joys of guitar playing. He’d been playing since he was in his mother’s womb, or something, and it totally defined him. In my state of depressed cynicism, his passion for guitars was nauseating. I was in an especially snarky mood while he was trying to sell me a guitar that cost more than six months of my car payments. So when Jose told me that no two guitars in the world sound exactly the same, my blunt reply was, “Well, why the heck not?”
He looked at the guitars displayed on the wall. “Because,” he replied, with a dreamy expression on his face, “no two trees are made exactly alike. So guitars are like snowflakes. Each one is different.”
I looked at the hundreds of guitars hanging on the walls of that dim room. Each one reflected a glimmer of light off its shiny finish. And it hit me like a resounding echo off of the walls in an empty room: God had created this moment in order for me to understand that his greatness and creativity are even in instruments that we use to express our own musical individuality. Even in a guitar that’s so painstakingly handcrafted by man, God has left his trademark in every note that the musician plays. His craftsmanship is everywhere. And it’s good. It's beautiful. In that moment, I felt humbled by my Creator.
But I still didn’t want to talk to him.
A couple days later, I was still wrestling with everything, so I broke down and asked one of my coworkers what I should do. The conversation went:
“I want to punch everyone in the face today. Thoughts?”
“Maybe you need Jesus.”
Right, okay. Jesus is the reason I’m feeling so depressed. Why would I go to him to feel better? I wondered.
After some internal debate, I decided to read from Scripture. I turned to 1 John. First John talks a lot about love—the love God has for us, and the love we should have for one another. I always find the words in 1 John irresistible. I read the first chapter. Then I decided to read the second chapter. Then I read these verses in chapter three: “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions” (1 John 3:16-18).
I was amazed by how drawn in I felt by Christ’s all-encompassing love. I couldn’t stop reading. I read the rest of 1 John, and then I read 2 John. Then 3 John. You can’t read those books without feeling your soul stir and come alive.
Although I had nothing to say to God last week, he had plenty to say to me. And his words penetrated deeply into the ache in my heart. I began to sense the Holy Spirit’s methodic work healing my pain, wooing me back to him.
Since that day, I’ve been soaking up God’s words with more intensity than I’ve felt in a long time. I’ve realized that God spent the last few weeks watching me stomp and pout and mope, but his love never wavered. His promises were always there, waiting to sew me back together. It’s a process for all of us. And I’m thankful for it.