How To Find Your Way Back To God

Finding God when you’ve drifted far from Him

I grew up without much of an introduction to God.  I’d heard of Him, of course, but I didn’t know Him.  Then I found Him, or He found me, and we were tight, because “tight” is something I said a lot in those days.

And then I fell away – it’s a longish story for another time, with lots of twists and turns, lots of striving, lots of pain. 

I was lost again.

I found my way back in an instant.  Literally, it was instantaneous – I walked into a church, my old church, the church where I was baptized.  I was there for a funeral but the very second I walked in, it happened.  I remembered.

I remembered God loved me. I remembered it was an all the time – forever - no matter what - kind of love.  I remembered I didn’t have to go back up the winding path I slid down.  I didn’t have to go back through every twist, every turn.  I didn’t have to strive.

I only needed to turn toward Him.  

And as I walked through those doors to celebrate the finished life of an old friend, I also welcomed new life in my own heart.  The weight of the past six years slipped off of me and onto Him and He carried it away as if it was nothing. 

I was found again.  

Later, as I reflected on how simple it was to be found, an image/vision/whatever you’d like to call it came to me.

I was sitting in a car - lost, so far away, years and distance and mistakes and regrets away from my God.  And in my earthly way of thinking, I was sitting in this car staring ahead, wanting to return, but unsure of the way back.  

A stack of maps showing where I’d been sat beside me and I’d pull them out, one by one, trying, striving to see the way home.

And then I walked into the church building and in that moment the maps were pushed out of the way and I saw something.  It was there the whole time, a part of this car since the beginning, stitched within me in my mother’s womb.  

It was a GPS of sorts. A red escape button.  Instead of maps to follow back through the way I came, it mapped out the closest way home. And because God is outside the bounds of earth distance and earth time, because the twists and turns and slides I took did not take me any farther from His reach, because the throne of God is not protected by moats and gates and high walls – not even, anymore, by a veil – I was instantly transported.

When I pushed the red button, I was instantly in the throne room, instantly with My God, instantly where I belong, instantly home.

I wrote a song about this. About how God is just a whisper away. I’ll share it eventually I’m sure.

He is just a whisper away, a red button away, from you too.  You don’t need to search maps or strive or make your way back through the twists and turns and slides.  He is just a whisper away.

Whisper to Him.

What A Homeless Man Taught Me About Abiding In Christ

What A Homeless Man Taught Me About Abiding In Christ

"Hello."  I said.  "I'm Stevie, what's your name?"

He responded timidly, looking up at me like a child lost from his parents, mumbling his name.  I didn't understand.

"What was that?"

"Joey*."  He said.  "I'm Joey."

I smiled and he smiled back - sort of.  I won't pretend to know his life, but he smiled like someone who hadn't felt real joy - produced a real smile - in a long time.

And I was glad I stopped to talk to Joey.

I said a silent prayer of thanks.  Thank you for tugging my heart when I drove by him earlier.  Thank you for keeping him here until I was able to come back with some money.  Thank you for leading me to come to him, to squat down where he sat, dejected, and speak to him.  

My ugly plan was to hand him some money out of the window, but this - this was better - this felt right - this felt like Kindgdom space - and I love being in Kingdom space.

"What do you need Joey?"

"A place to stay."  He said.

I wish I could capture in words the tone of his voice, the inflection, the emotion. Again, he reminded me of a lost child.

And I loved him.

As soon as I loved him, my heart broke.  He had nowhere to sleep.  I pictured him from earlier, when I first drove by.  He was sitting cross-legged on the sidewalk, a small bag next to him, staring into space.  

He had no sign asking for money or food or work - he was just sitting.  The same state I found him in 30 minutes later, still just sitting.

"I wish I could help you with that." I said. "I really do, but I can't.  I can give you this."  I handed him twenty dollars, wishing I pulled out more.  His eyes grew three times wider.

"Really?  You mean it?"  Again like a child.  My chest tightened. I hated the small amount. "Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you."  He started to tear up.

"Can I pray for you?"  I asked.

"Oh please, yes, please." He sobbed, already bowing his head.

I put my hand on his shoulder and he put his hand on my knee and I prayed.

"My mom is up there." He said while I prayed. "My mom is up there.  She is watching over me."

So I thanked God for keeping Joey's mom, and I prayed that God would give Joey a place to live, and I prayed that the twenty dollars would be multiplied - that my little offering would call down a monsoon of blessings on him.

"And that I would be able to take care of myself."  He interrupted.

So I prayed for that too.

He sobbed quietly and squeezed my knee harder and harder as I prayed.  Later I would think this should have felt strange, at least a little uncomfortable, but it didn't.  We were in Kingdom space.

I prayed it all, in Jesus' name, and Joey said "yes" and "amen" and I kept my hand on his shoulder, rubbing - wishing I could rub some of the pain away.

"It was really nice to meet you Joey."

He nodded, his shoulders racking with quiet sobs.

"Can I kiss you?" He asked.

I leaned forward and he kissed my cheek.  It wasn't weird or awkward - we were in kingdom space.

As I drove away, I could see him in the rear view mirror, head bowed, shoulders bouncing.

"What were you talking to that guy about?" Asked my four year old from the back seat.

"We were praying."

"Why is he crying?" He asked.

I told him what I knew about Joey and we prayed for him again - me and B.  We prayed for him tonight before bed, and I think we will pray for my new friend for a long time.

But there was a moment, driving away, where I hated myself.  A moment where I hated the person who could connect with a broken stranger and drive away, leaving him better off by only twenty dollars.  

I would drop my child at school, go to work, pick him up, have a nice dinner with friends, and settle into my warm condo with a cup of tea and maybe some TV to end the night.  Yes, I would think about Joey - probably for a long time - and I would pray for him, but a fat lot of good that will do him.  

He was sad.  Unbearably sad.  And I drove away.  I suck.  This world sucks.

I spent a moment deep in self-hatred before I remembered something.  I have one job.  Abide in Him. Abide in Him, and Kingdom space will come.  This world sucks - I'm not wrong - but it's not my job to fix it.  The pain and suffering of this world is not on my shoulders.  "Save the world" is not on my to-do list.  I don't save - I point to the one who does.

Today, abiding in him meant stopping to talk to Joey. And I'm so glad it did.

 *Name Changed

Want To Save The World? Let It Shine.

You Don’t Shovel Darkness Out Of A Room. You Turn On A Light.

Earlier this week I heard a radio preacher say you can't shovel darkness out of a room - you have to turn on a light.  That's all he said on the matter, but I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.

It's so obvious.  I don't shuffle like a zombie into the bathroom in the morning and try to beat the darkness into submission.  I don't plead with it to go away.  I don't scream at it when it won't comply.  I don't throw my pretty candles at it or drag my soapbox in to persuade it to depart.

I turn on the freaking light.

This world is dark.  God is light.

We see the darkness and the brokenness and the emptiness.  We see pain and hunger and despair and death and we want to FIGHT it. Beat it into submission.  We want to convince everyone to join together to eradicate the dark.

The world has more than enough resources to sustain its human population.  Yet a child just died of starvation.  And another one.  And another.  Every four seconds.  A real human child died because he was deprived of what my dumpster is full with.

Insert a million other problems - darkness problems - brokenness problems - relationship problems.

I want to fix them.  I want to get out my soapbox.  I want to find money to throw at them.  I want to shame everyone, myself included, into spending themselves for this cause or that cause.

And I am exhausted before I even get started.

Because I'm trying to fight the darkness with a shovel instead of just being a light.

How cool is it that God says we get to be a light?   The biggest problem this world has is darkness and we get to be a light - we're basically superheroes. Basically.

We stay plugged into the source and we light this place up.  That's it.  It might be exhausting sometimes but I won't be depleted. I'm connected to the source of everlasting light.

Maybe being a light means picking up a shovel sometimes, or standing on a soapbox, or spending myself - time, money, energy - but those things aren't the weapon any more than a battery-less flashlight is a weapon against darkness.

We hold the greatest weapon, and I'm gonna let it shine.