Just As You Are

By Bindu Adai-Mathew

Have you ever felt like you needed to lose weight before you start going to the gym and before you start wearing fitted workout clothes while working out next to people who seem more in shape than you are?

Often, we treat our faith like that…we often feel like we have to be more spiritual before we can go to God with our doubts, our frustrations, our disappointment, and even our depression.  We often feel unworthy and not quite in that “spiritual” state of mind. We often think being/feeling/acting spiritual as being a requisite to approaching God rather than approaching Him as we truly are…

But as AbbyA described being alone on her island in yesterday’s blog post, she admitted that she had been “argumentative and harsh towards God in my words and feelings.” But it was only by continuing to converse with God, that she was later freed from the very feelings that had kept her imprisoned on her island.

As I read her blog, I was reminded of that great hymnal “Just as I am.” As much as we would like to transform ourselves before we go to God, it is only in God’s presence that we can truly be changed…like the Potter who can take our messy lump of clay and transform it into something priceless.

So Come…Just as you are…

Just As I Am

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

Recalling An Island Called Depression

By AbbyA

After a few years of disappointment, my prayers to God started with a heart that needed her daddy so badly, but quickly took a left turn to bitterness.  My needs were so great, my well so dry.  I started to turn my cheek to my God who seemed to be failing me.  As my once strong and deep connection to Him filled with static and sadness, I floated away from Him…only to find myself lonely and depressed.

If you are like me, at some very down times in your life, you have said to God…although I need you very much, I am not going to ask you for help or wisdom anymore because you are not going to do anything anyway.  That was the beginning of me chipping away at my own faith.  Creating an island for myself.  When you are on an island by yourself, already sad thoughts permeate the secret places where God once was the center.  It is sort of like pulling the plug on a powerful whirlpool that was generating the light in you.

Alone on an Island.  Floating in the dark.  The flicker of the light sort of makes you sadder.  You really want the light because it is familiar, warm and calling.  But what is takes to get up and head back (or forward) takes the last bit of energy that you really don’t know how to find within you.  The latter, most assuredly, is the trap of feeling depressed.  However do I get home when I am frozen here on my island?

Awhile back, driving to work, it came to me that I had been pretty argumentative and harsh towards God in my words and feelings.  It seemed to me that He had been silent for so long.  God said something like – – my child, in the way that I ask you not to answer another with argumentative, harsh words, I also refrained from answering you.  You were not aware enough to see my Hand at work and too lost to hear me.  In a flash, He showed me how patient He is.  In a quiet, omniscient way, He had been waiting for me to open the door for Him again.

I am a book-of-the-bible reader.  Devotions are for the in-between.  I like to read books of the bible and write notes.  That became hard for me, on my island, with so little inspiration.  For some months, it was even harder to read my old notes.   Professions of my gratefulness, unending faith in His prophetic promises and appreciation for the fullness of His word.  I hardly knew who that person was who wrote with such freshness and freedom in Him.  God has chosen the middle of the night and early morning to begin His changes in me.  Somewhere in the night, in a searching, sleepy way I asked Him about where again to start with His book.  Wherever would I start?  Malachi, Malachi and Malachi again.  Take a look at the excerpt from Malachi below.

“Your words have been harsh against Me,” Says the Lord, Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’  You have said, ‘It is useless to serve God; What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, And that we have walked as mourners Before the Lord of Hosts?  So now we call the proud blessed, For those who do wickedness are raised up; They even tempt God and go free.’”

Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, And the Lord listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the Lord And who meditate on His name.

“They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels.  And I will spare them As a man spares his own son who serves him.”  Then you shall again discern Between the righteous and the wicked, Between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.  Malachi 3:13-18.

In the pressures, stress and disappointment of this life, we lose sight of following Him.  Where is He anyway?  We lose our freedom in Him and start to question our bondage to Him.  Bitterness.  Our words are harsh against Him.  Why isn’t He delivering me?  How far can I be stretched?  We begin to lose sight of His purpose.  We lose our way.  Alone on an Island.  But, He is there.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18.  He is praying for you.  Luke 22:32.  You are His.  I contemplate that, at the very time we are speaking harshly against Him, He is reading His Book of Remembrance of His jewel – – you.  He is quietly reading, meditating, remembering you as you really are.  A time will return when you see that.  His power will help you open the door to Him again.  For He is the way, the truth and the life.  John 14:6.  He will not leave you; He will come to you.  John 14:18.

I don’t know what has brought you to leave for your island or how deep your wounds are.  If you are on your island, I only ask you to rely on what you know to be true.  Whether or not you can believe you have the strength, your heart will return to Him.  His heart has never left you.  And, one day He will read to you from His book – -not only about the day you came home, but every last praise you sang of Him.  He is that faithful to you.  For you, my fellow sister, are His precious jewel.