This line right here has been following me around lately. In the Easter Sunday sermon from Chris Plekenpol, in a Tim Hawkins video, I've heard it over and over in the past several days and it's been stuck in my head the entire time.
Jesus didn't come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people alive.
It's something that took me a really long time to understand. After my hometown church kicked me out, my initial reaction was that I wasn't good enough. I wasn't good enough for them, I wasn't good enough for the church, and if I wasn't good enough for the church, "God's people", then there wasn't no way that I could be good enough for God.
And that just got me angry. I knew those people weren't perfect, so why were they good enough for God but I wasn't? Before long, all of that anger turned into nothing. I was numb. I knew I was numb but I didn't care. I figured I'd rather feel nothing at all if that meant I could escape the pain and sadness that seemed to have engulfed me ever since my dad passed away.
That's when I stopped talking to anyone, save for Matt and even with him he had to pry at times to get me to say anything. I didn't trust any other person to know the reality of what was going on inside my heart and mind, and I didn't think that God cared. That's also when the thoughts of suicide started becoming a daily ritual. I thought I was a waste of skin, and honestly the only feeling in me stronger than the ones that said I should never have been born and that I didn't want to live in what felt like hell anymore was the one that didn't want to let "them" win. I wasn't going to give all the people who wanted me gone exactly the wish they'd been taunting me with.
Who knew someone could be dead and still be a fighter? It sounds like a giant contradiction, I know, but I didn't know I was dead until I learned what life really looked like. I didn't know I was numb until I learned what feeling really was. And I didn't even begin to learn what life and feeling really were until I met these four strangers from Nashville one hot February day who showed me what life looked like, not with their words, but with the way they shined. The way they laughed. The way they listened so intently to me, like I was the only person in the room. They still teach me those things, with their texts, with their phone calls, with the way they prayed over me just weeks ago and pray for me still. And it all made sense when I stood in an unfamiliar church in their hometown and declared my allegiance to Christ.
I'll be the first one to tell you that I rolled my eyes for years any time someone tried to tell me that Jesus wanted me, Jesus wanted my heart, and the life I'd been pleading for and waiting for could only be found with him. Ask my friend JD, she knows. She's one of the few Christians in my life today who knew me at my worst. I think she could even tell via email when I was rolling my eyes at her. My faith has been tested more than most people even think is possible, and that's why I know I can sit here and tell you that I get it. I get it because I've been on both sides. I've been the one who thinks those "religious people spouting trite Christian phrases are just crazy", and now I'm the girl who wants to tell you that everything I heard in my past that I didn't believe then is actually true!
Jesus didn't come for the people society labeled "good" or "right" or "popular".
Jesus came for the broken, the outcast, the worst of sinners, so he could heal and redeem and give His Father all the glory.
Jesus came for the parents who don't know how they'll pay the bills, so he could show them that God really can work miracles.
Jesus came for the teenagers trapped in a feeling that this life isn't worth living, so he could show them that there's a better life waiting for them in eternity.
Jesus came for the ones laid up in hospitals wondering what kind of loving God would let them hurt so badly, so he could teach them that God feels and grieves their pain with them.
But Jesus also came for the ones who see themselves as having lived a "virtually pain-free life." Jesus came for the ones who are willing to befriend the ones that everyone else ignores. Jesus came for the ones who go on mission trips to let orphans know they are loved.
There is no being "good enough" for God. God knows how broken and wicked we really are, and the Love He has for us is so great that He came down to ransom us from the ties that bind us to our sin.
He came because He knows that before any of us knows Him, we are dead, and He wants to show us what being alive really is all about.
"There is a God in heaven who died to be our Savior and now lives to be our King." - Chris Plekenpol
"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience, among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ..." Ephesians 2:1-5