There’s something beautiful about the uneven exchange that God has given us. The exchange of life for death. The exchange of the blood of Christ for my sins. My story below is not as deep as these, but it touches my heart in almost the same way.
The thought of “exchange” came to my mind for some time as I was experiencing the loss of a close friend and the many things we shared in. In my grief I thought about the things I missed most about my friend and I asked God, “Who will I share revelations and daily testimonies with? Who will I go to church with? Who will I share worship music with? What ministry will I sink my roots into without my friend? How will I continue to serve You and your people? And then, the final question that left me in utter despair, “Who will show me the love that my friend so effortlessly seemed to give me?”
With that question, the Holy Spirit spoke to me saying, “Your friend will no longer show you that love, but I will.” At first I thought… what? Did I hear that right? Then, my reaction to His words shocked me, I was not content with that answer from Him. I was not prepared for God to remove my friend out of my life and to have that love be substituted. I felt horrible. Horrible to face that my friend would no longer be there, and now horrible that I was rejecting the Father’s response to my pain. In not wanting to accept my circumstances, I was telling God that I didn’t want His love.
Other questions started to arise… How could I possibly reject the Father’s love? Did I not learn that in truth, no love can compare to His? Was my reaction matching my break in faith? Was I thinking of God in ambiguous ways? How will God show me the same love that my friend showed me? What’s making me want to reach out toward my friend instead of God?
Reflecting back, I know God was revealing something inside of me that needed to be brought out to the open. For the past two years, I had the comfort, support and love of my friend to lean on, and now God had taken that away so that I could walk by faith in the source of true comfort, support and love… Him. My Heavenly Father wanted one-on-one with me and to my surprise, I wasn’t having it. I wanted my friend back instead. And in my rebellion, the enemy partied all around me, telling me all sorts of lies about myself, my friend and even God. I was struggling with God’s will. I was going through a sort of Jacob experience.
God wanted me to seek Him in my trials. He wanted my attention. He wanted me to reach to Him through the midst. He wanted me to draw closer to Him. He wanted me to talk to Him. He wanted me to trust Him. He wanted me to know that His love would catch me and that He would see me through. He knew I needed Him through this tough time in order for me to press on past the emotions and feelings of heart break.
For months I prayed longer and more fiercely than ever before. I praised Him in ways I’d never praised Him before. I wrote Him letters daily about the piercing pain I was in (as if He didn’t know already.) I read my Bible with an intensity to see what God wanted to reveal to me. I surrounded myself with sermon messages and isolated myself from almost everyone I knew as God was morphing me to a liquid state. And now, having gone through such internal suffering and heartache, I lift my hands and voice in thanks to Him for getting me through this experience. An experience that grew my desire and love for Christ to a deeper and more personal level than ever.