A few years have passed since my re-encounter with God, and I can see with clarity, and I have certainty that I found what I was looking for, that the Lord is holding my hand as we walk. It is one thing to speak words and go through the motions, but quite another thing to experience it. I can say from the deepness of my heart, that I am on my way to God. The experience that I am living is something I wish each of you could have. One of the biggest mistakes I made in my earlier years was to believe that it was about my doings, about the percentage of time I devoted to the service of God and the money I was giving to the cause. Between the time used to prepare the lessons to teach children in Church, and the time devoted to the Choir, or visiting the sick, or helping the needy, I assumed I was giving sufficient, and God had to be happy with me. But I was wrong. It was not about my time, the money, or the effort I was giving for God’s purposes. It was about my way of thinking and about my reason for doing those things. It was about God telling me what to do, instead of me assuming I knew what He wanted from me. I needed to find Him so He could tell me directly.
God said through the prophet "I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts." Jeremiah 31: 33. He also said, "You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29: 13. Instead of doing that, I was trying to imitate what others were doing, following their steps and trying to reach their level of learning. I was wrong. I needed to look inside my heart, where God put His Word for me. I learned to seek God in the stillness, I learned to quiet my mind, and one day I felt I had made connection with Him. I started to hear His voice guiding me toward what I needed to do. My desire to do His will was genuine, but I was honestly mistaken. I was not on the right track. I had gone off on a parallel track. The Bible also says: "But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.’" James 2:18. I had deeds, but my faith or my beliefs, although well intentioned, were wrong. I was a lost sheep. I wanted to be part of the sheepfold, but I did not know how to get there on my own. I needed the Good Shepherd, and He came and found me. He guided me, He showed me the way, and I felt, literally, taken by His hand.
Since then I have seen the difference. I can hear His voice guiding me. I gradually have been understanding the corrections I need to make, and I am putting all my effort to make them. I don’t mean to say that it is wrong to sing in the choir or teach children, but it is wrong to presume to know what God wants from us, and give Him instead what we want, and trust that He is pleased and we are in compliance, "saved and satisfied". I also know that I was very afraid of God, afraid of what He might ask me to do, because the Lord Jesus said, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” John 20:21. I wondered where He would send me. Perhaps to do something I didn’t want to do, like leaving my family behind, or maybe going to some unknown country to offer my life as a sacrifice. But when I stopped being afraid of God, I understood two things: First, He would not ask me to do something I didn’t enjoy doing, and secondly, God does not want our sacrifices. He is not calling for martyrs but for teachers. It was a relief to understand that part.
Our joy is found in doing what God instructs us to do, despite the efforts we invest. Joy is our reward, His seal of approval that tells us that we did what He asked us to do. It is then considered an offering, not a sacrifice. God linked joy to the mission He gave us. As we comply with our mission, we experience His joy. We all have wrong beliefs; it doesn’t matter from whom we learned them. That is why it is so important to review them and correct them. In order to review your beliefs, start by making a list of what you believe about God. Who is He to you? What do you expect from Him and why? Is He fulfilling His promises to you? If all your fellow men are brothers and sisters, why don’t you love them all equally? Who is the Lord Jesus Christ for you personally, who is the Holy Spirit, and, amid all this, who are you? You don’t need to do this all at once. Your answers will surprise you. Then tell God, "these are my beliefs. Am I correct?" And He will give you an answer, if not now, later. But we should persist in getting His answer, because it is important to know. We should do it without getting tired or discouraged, until we receive His answer.
“His gentle Voice is calling from the known to the unknowing. He would comfort you, although He knows no sorrow. He would make a restitution, though He is complete; a gift to you, although He knows that you have everything already. He has Thoughts which answer every need His Son perceives, although He sees them not. For Love must give, and what is given in His Name takes on the form most useful in a world of form.” ACIM L. 186:13
Our attitude should not be, “If God wants me to learn, He should teach me.” That is not seeking God with all your heart. That shows we do not have a burning desire to find Him. And why the interest in finding Him, if not for Him to take us back to the home we left behind and start anew the relationship we once had? Without Him we feel lost. We yearn to have the love, peace, joy and harmony we enjoyed when we were with Him. Sometimes we believe that, as children of God, we are protected from adversity, and we should not suffer hardships. That is not one of God’s promises. Even the Lord Jesus Christ said, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John. 16: 33. Peace in the midst of adversity is what we were promised. He will help us achieve the presence of His peace. Our victory is guaranteed if He is on our side.
This is the season of lent, a time when people refrain from certain habits or practices as a sacrifice to God. But God is not asking for sacrifices. If we want to give an offering that He will honor and lovingly receive, perhaps we could refrain from passing judgment on others, or we could let perceived offenses pass without analyzing them. We could refrain from being jealous or envious regarding something someone else has that we do not. We can begin by doing it one hour at a time and then continue with the next hour. It is not an easy thing to do, but it will bring you great benefit for the rest of your life. God will receive your efforts with love and will give you strength to keep you going. We should show our love to God by loving our brothers. Let us prepare for the culmination of this season, which is the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, when He put into effect the atonement, the annulment of our errors, when he declared we were innocent. That is the way God wants us to see ourselves.
“Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:38