As I look back over my life, I see God’s unchanging hand orchestrating His grace and will for me despite more obstacles than I could ever count or imagine. I spent the majority of my childhood in foster care. Consequently, I was raised in a very religious and legalistic environment that locked me into an unseen prison that I would not recognize until many years later. Yet, a spark of insatiable desire for a real encounter with God remained within my heart despite my often cold and oppressive surroundings.
Although I do not remember the incident, my dad told me of a time when I was about three years of age and I responded to an altar call. Evidently, the pastor leaned down and asked me for my request, and I simply responded, “I love Jesus.” You see, grace works like that. It’s not always flamboyant in nature, but it works miracles including the miracle of protecting and nurturing a child-like faith and hunger for God such as mine despite living in a world that attempts to snuff it out at every turn. We cannot even take any credit or honestly maintain any sense of pride for our remotest interest or response to God’s wooing in our lives because it is all by His grace alone.
I once had an encounter with God as a young child that I will never forget. I remember feeling a void in my heart and insatiable desire for a mother. One night, like many nights before and after it, I lay in bed crying and talking to God. With tears, I asked Him why I couldn’t have a mother. Suddenly, I felt the physical embrace of God’s arms around me. I felt the love, safety, and sense of belonging that my soul longed for in such a real and tangible way until I eventually fell asleep in peace. I tried to regain that feeling and experience again and again, but to no avail. Looking back, I now see that this was none other than God’s unchanging hand in my life.
Throughout my high school years, the demonic battle for my mind and soul intensified so greatly that I seriously desired death over life. I contemplated suicide many times, yet remained too fearful of Hell to make any real attempts at fulfilling this contemplation. Again, I see God’s unchanging hand restraining me from fulfilling the enemy of my soul’s purpose and plan for my life. Amid the intense warfare, I found relief in an unexpected source, which was prayer journaling. The enemy of my soul had gained tremendous strongholds on my mind. Yet, when I would vomit or pour out the lies and deceptions of the enemy and my soul through written prayers to God, I would gain a temporary sense of peace, which caused me to return to this healing practice again and again. During my whirlwind of turmoil, God gave me a prayer, and I ended each of my journal entries with these words: “Lord, search me, know me, show me, change me, and use me.” I see God’s unchanging hand even in this prayer that I have expounded upon and still use frequently in my prayer journal.
Through a high school homework assignment, I discovered a hidden gift of poetry that lit my way to poetically cry out to God in a way that I had never dreamed possible. My pen became my weapon of warfare to hold back the enemy from utterly destroying my soul. Little did I know or realize that the call to be transformed through God’s apostolic process of my becoming all that He created me to be in Him was ringing forth in my soul. Amazingly, writing became a vital means of leading me to surrender to God’s unchanging hand in my life.
It’s no secret that much pain and sorrow accompanies us in this life. Yet, one of the greatest miracles of life is the moment when God opens our blinded eyes to SEE His unchanging hand through it all. I encourage you to look back and prayerfully ask God to help you to SEE His hand of grace, mercy, and love despite the darkness and pain of the past. Can you SEE His hand? Can you SEE His light shining even in the darkest places of your memories? Just as God revealed to me that He had given me my pen as an unexpected weapon of warfare against the enemy of my soul, He has given each and every one of us such a weapon. What has God placed in your hand to help bring forth His will for your life? Child of God, I encourage you to open your eyes and SEE God’s unchanging hand in your life. SEE Him in your past and give Him praise and glory. SEE Him in your presence right NOW and take up your God-given weapon of warfare to fight the good fight of faith! For He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (I John 4:4). Finally, SEE Him in your future and allow HOPE to arise within you, knowing that God’s unchanging hand is eternally committed to love, transform and reconcile you completely to His perfect Word, Will, and Way. For He SHALL work all things together for your GOOD as you surrender to His ever-present hand in your life.
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