You can’t run from God’s love, really I’ve tried.
Recently I read Matthew 18, and I was absolutely wrecked by the kindness of the Father. In verse 12, Jesus begins to tell a parable about when the shepherd leaves his ninety-nine sheep to find the one lost. When the sheep wandered, the shepherd chased it down, he took the chance to find the one. As I was reading, the Lord reminded me of how he left the ninety-nine for me.
I grew up in a Christian home and was madly in love with Jesus until my junior year of high school when I became extremely depressed to the point of wanting to take my own life. I was riddled with anxiety and truly believed that I was worthless and unloved. I believed it for so long until one day I went to a friends church. The pastor said “stand if you feel ugly, if you feel like a failure, if you feel worthless…” and I instantly heard the Lord ask me to stand up. I refused, of course, but He gently told me to stand up and break the chains that had tethered me for too long. So, I stood, and as I did I heard that familiar voice that told me I was worthy, loved, seen. Within the matter of a few minutes, the Lord broke the very things that had held me from seeing His love. He had been endlessly been pursuing me, and finally I turned around to see that He had always been right behind me.
As I get to look back to those times, I see that Jesus was never far. He had always been closer than the very breath in my lungs, but it took me a minute to recognize His presence. Even now, it’s easy to feel far away from God, but feelings aren’t always truth. I know that Jesus is close, even when I’m unaware. Seriously, He took on the cross so that we could be intimate with Him!
I believe that Jesus wants to free you. He wants to free you from anxiety and depression, He wants you to know that you’re loved. He is closer than the ground beneath your feet or the breath in your lungs, and He is after your heart. Before your mother knew you, He did. He formed you delicately, made you beautifully, and has been madly in love with you since the very first moment that He knew you.
So Jesus, we fix our eyes on you. We can see how close you are, we can’t even fathom how close you are, really. We love you, and we ask that you would reveal yourself. When we feel distant from you, we choose to captivate our thoughts and recognize that we could’t run from your presence, even if we tried. Jesus, thank you for coming in close and staying close.
words by Samantha Imada and photo by Sara Beth Pritchard