“Why couldn’t I have come to Jesus sooner? Why did God allow me to experience the pain of my past before setting me free?”
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NKJV)
I’ve had questions for God about His timing for a year now. These questions are rooted in a little bit of anger regarding the fact that God didn’t save me sooner so that I would have been able to walk in as much freedom as possible, earlier on in my life. I believed that if I was saved sooner, I would have been able to say that my slate was relatively clean and that I wouldn’t have had to repent of all that I’d done before Christ.
The more I think about this, the more I start to see moments in my life where Jesus was one hundred percent present and I just chose to ignore Him. Heartbreaks, depression, anxious thoughts, close sexual encounters, fear, college plans that got derailed – He was present through it all. I can vividly see how God worked His mighty, supernatural hand to pave ways for me that shouldn’t have existed like fully paid for college tuition, books and transportation due to a scholarship that I didn’t apply for, uncomfortable moments of saying “not tonight” when asked to take a moment one step too far even though I didn’t know why I was constantly saying no to begin with and end of friendships that were hurting me more than helping me to make room for a phenomenal group of friends that love and support me beyond my wildest dreams. Those are just a handful of moments that I can tell that God was working for good despite how messy things may have looked back then.
Even in my darkest days, when I felt alone and unseen – relying just barely on my childhood idea of Jesus who was distant and unreachable – I can see how much He has shaped moments in my life to get me to where I am today. Finding Jesus sooner would have saved me from a lot of pain, no doubt about it. But the broken pieces of my past have been put back together beautifully by God’s grace and now makes up the beginning of my testimony.
I’m convinced that sometimes God doesn’t save us sooner because of two reasons:
- We are often too blind to our own worldy views and flesh desires that we don’t see or hear Him crying out for us.
- He wants to mold and shape us, using ALL of us – the good and the bad – to help reach others.
Even if I had known and surrendered my life to Jesus at a younger age – I am only twenty-three as I write this – I wouldn’t have had a clean slate anyway. I am a born sinner and would forever have to deal with my sinful nature, even now. But I also wouldn’t have had the experiences I’ve had that have allowed me to speak to people just like me and tell them all that God has done for me, even before I was even aware of it.
I’ve learned one solid thing that has made this walk with Jesus undeniably beautiful: God’s timing is perfect. His restoration of our souls is done in his perfect timing. And he beautifully and expertly uses ALL things – the good, the bad and the ugly – for good, as clearly written in the scripture at the beginning of this post.
My note to you: If your life is dark right now and you think there is no way that God could possibly use someone so flawed or dirty – because your past and maybe even present is messy – know that there’s nothing too dirty that God can’t wash clean. In fact, Jesus already took care of all of our mess when He willingly bled on the cross. You’re not too dirty for God. You’re not too dirty to be made new. God has a plan and a purpose for your life – whether you find Him at the age of five or fifty-five. Even in moments of your life where you don’t see God working or you haven’t actually had a personal encounter yet, you can be confident that He isn’t watching you passively from the sidelines. Lean in and see that He is putting work in, even in the mundane.
If you’re in need of a Savior, Jesus eagerly waits for you to choose Him. He has already chosen you.