On January 22, 2012 I stood before an audience of about 100 people and gave the following testimony. It was geared towards the members of the church congregation who may have fallen away from God, turning to a life of drugs and alcohol as we heard from the pastor. With a translator, I shared this one story, which is just a piece of who I am today. (It’s been written in a way for the translator to easily understand.)
I was born and raised in a Christian family. I started going to church since I was still in my mom’s stomach. I became a Christian when I was around 11 years old.
My question for you today is, “When would you stop loving God?” Would you stop loving God if you lost your job? Your family? Your health? Your reputation? How about if all of those things happened at once? In your lowest, loneliest, most painful time in your life, would you still love God?
You see, our love for God is often times conditional. I’ll love God if He keeps me healthy. I’ll love God if He protects my family. And if that doesn’t happen we get angry with God and think He’s forsaken us, that He has stopped loving us.
I stopped loving God when I was 19 years old. I was in college and I went to a party at a friend’s house. People were drinking and having a great time. One of my friends decided to try jumping into the swimming pool from the roof of the house. I was inside so I didn’t see him do it. I can still remember hearing the commotion from outside. I ran out and saw someone pulling him out of the swimming pool. He had hit his head on the cement. I ran over and started to do CPR on him while someone called the ambulance. Now, anyone who has ever had a friend die in their arms knows how painful and traumatic it is. My friend died that night. And on that same night, standing outside of the hospital upon news of his death, I stopped loving God. I thought if God would let something like this happen, if He could sit back and let my friend die, then I wanted nothing to do with Him.
How could I love a God like that?
So I started drinking and partying. I stopped going to my college classes. I stopped going to church. I got really depressed. I stopped smiling. I stopped living. I stopped loving God.
But, did God stop loving me? Was He like, “Oh well, Tiffany doesn’t love me anymore. I guess I should stop loving her.” No. I may have felt alone and as far away from God as ever possible, but God was still there. And He still loved me. It took time and a lot of other heartbreaking events but eventually I found my way back to God.
When it comes to those broken and rock-bottom points in life, all you need to do is turn around and take one step, one step back towards Jesus. It doesn’t matter how far you’ve walked away. God will take the remaining steps back to you. It just starts with one step.
Life with God is so much better. Knowing that God can turn every bad situation in your life into something good (Romans 8:28) and knowing that God cares about you makes this life worth living. Since then God has turned my life around completely. I have found direction in my life and with my career. I’ll be getting married in August to an amazing Christian man who loves God. I still face hardships, and have especially recently, but at least I’m not facing them alone. God is right there with me.
You may feel like God is nowhere near you right now. You may feel all alone, trying to live in this world on your own strength. You may have no direction in life. You may be thinking, “How can God still love me after all I’ve done?” Believe me when I say this. God has never stopped and will never stop loving you. (Joshua 1:9) You just need to accept that love and remember that love when times are hard.
God will never stop loving you.