By: Staci Stallings
I’ve been listening to a song the past couple of days. I have no idea when it came out or where my mom got it, but it’s a great song called, “Wine Back Into Water.” The man in the song has a drinking problem, and he says he’s prayed a lot about it. Now he’s gotten to the bottom of everything he can do and it’ s not worked. The hook line is, “So on my knees I’m turning to You Father, can You help me turn the wine back into water?”
It’s a sentiment many of us have felt at times even if our issue is not drinking. Things have changed in our lives. Something happened–maybe it was a choice we made, maybe it was a choice someone else made, maybe it was just dumb luck, but our world changed forever, and our instinct is to want to go back. We want to go back to the way things were when our loved one was here or before the fire or the flood or our marriage went sour.
I think that is a very common response, but I don’t think it’s what God had in mind for us.
I was talking with my mom yesterday about my growing up and how I viewed life. For many reasons, I got the message growing up that I had to be perfect to be worth anything. And I worked and worked and worked, always pretty sure that someone was going to figure out that it was all a farce. I wasn’t perfect. My accomplishments gave me peace for about two seconds, until I figured out they still didn’t make me happy. They were not the “end,” they were just a stepping stone. Because there was never an “I’ve arrived” point, I could never slow down and enjoy life. The time to slow down would be the NEXT goal. Except that never came.
In “Forgiven Forever,” there is a great line that says those who are living on a law/works system are two things: 1) very busy and 2) very frustrated.
Boy, was that ME!
But as we talked and I shared how God had pulled me up out of the mire of that thinking, I told my mom that I wouldn’t trade having gone through that. She was surprised, I think. Most people would like life to be as easy as possible (and I’m not saying I wouldn’t), it’s just that in this case, having gone through that gave me such insights into how badly a person can be feeling even if they look great on the outside.
Having gone through hell to figure out that God is on my side and to figure out that He loves me anyway, to me, was worth it. I would not have learned that lesson as deeply without going through that hell. Had it just be “a little bad,” I would not be so grateful for God showing up. Had it been just “a little painful,” I might not have appreciated the removal of that pain. As it is, I am shouting praises grateful every day!
In the book “Heaven is Real” (the sequel to “90 Minutes in Heaven”), the author talks about bridge moments. His moment of change came when a truck on a narrow bridge hit him in his car head-on. He says that he entered that bridge as one person, but he exited as someone completely different.
That’s the way I feel about the time in my life when I was so attached to the approval of others, my grades and accomplishments. Without that time in my life, I would not understand the things I do now. I was one person going into that meat grinder, I was a different person coming out. I was also different going into the Spirit Led Bootcamp God sent me through (and sometimes I think I’m still in), and another person when I emerged.
But the lesson of Bootcamp could not have been learned without the pain of the earlier period. How was I to know how desperately I needed to be saved without knowing anything was even wrong? Because of the pain I went through trying to get others to think I was worth it, I never would have appreciated to the depths I do today what God did for me.
All of our situations are different. Your issue may be completely different than mine, but I would be willing to bet that the answer is the same.
The answer the difficulties we face in life is this: God loves me. Right now. Without qualifications. Whether I’m lovable or not. And He’s willing to reach out to me, even in hell, and lift me out into His light if I will only accept what He has done for me.
So stop wishing you could go back. If God has used this painful experience to teach you to a deeper level about His love, be grateful. Realize the experience has made you a different person and let that different person be a better person, a more healed person, a person who KNOWS deeper that God loves them.
Then move FORWARD as your new, healed self.
You cannot go back. Wanting to will keep you stuck right here. And here is no place to be if you’re in spiritual misery.