it's been a while. i think lots of it has to do with the fact that i'm just lazy.
but it's a new semester, and i'm doing a lot of new things. my schedule is revamped, i'm adding stuff to the to-do list, and one of them is to write more regularly. i'm sitting on my bed in my dorm room, and for the past few hours i've been doing basically nothing, just browsing youtube and facebook and complaining about how i had nothing to do.
i hate it when i do that. so i stopped.
i went to the ball state prayer team's facebook page and saw that there were a bunch of people posting short video testimonies about what the Lord had done in their lives. it was really, really cool to watch all of them, each with their completely unique story, and see the common thread of God's providence and sovereignty throughout. many had been saved from a life of drugs or sexual sin. some had come through really dark times in their life after a loved one passed away. all of them were really awesome to listen to.
part of me has always felt that my testimony is somehow… subpar. i mean, i became a christian when i was nine or ten, during church. no radical life change happened, no blinding light was seen or audible voice heard. my life wasn't extremely different in years to come, to be honest. aside from my grandpa a few years ago, no one especially close to me has passed away (a beautiful blessing i humbly ask the Lord to continue to provide). for a while i was actually kind of annoyed, because i didn't have some great story to tell people…
are you rolling your eyes? because i can't help but do it. i was so focused on me. this ideal testimony became something of an idol. which is ironic (but no less sinful) because a testimony is really all about God. the purpose of a testimony is to direct attention heavenward, and the only thing i could think of was what things i could do to spice it up. i just wanted all the attention. all of it. thankfully, Jesus broke me of that idol. i enjoy sharing my testimony, inasmuch as it will point others to the One who's changed my life. but, if i'm being honest, i feel like i've run into another problem. i hesitate to share my testimony sometimes because there's this rumor going around that testimonies have an ending. good christians end their testimonies with "…and that's how God saved me from all my sin. now i don't struggle with anything anymore!" as if after college, testimonies run out or something.
saying that my testimony "hasn't run out yet" is a very kind way of putting things. there are sins i've dealt with for years, crap that continues in my life today. when i share my testimony with someone, i can't say things like, "and then i never sinned like that again."
but that's not just part of being brad hough. it's part of being human. yes, the Lord will take away temptation and radically change people's lives if it's part of His perfect plan, but for most christians, we have to live in the reality that, while we have been saved from our sin, while we are no longer under its power, and while God sees us as righteous because of Jesus' sacrifice, we are still sinful. we are saved sinners.
i'm not at all diminishing the significance — the beauty! — of the truth that those who are in Jesus are found righteous in God's sight. that is a truth that perplexes and enamors me. and over time, the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives helps us to be more and more like Christ. again, beautiful truth. but there will always be this gap between where we want to be with our sin (that is, completely past it) and where we are. simply because we live in a fallen world.
here's the part where God is just really awesome. the stuff i'm talking about didn't get past Him. in fact, He designed it like that. one of the speakers at indycc (a cru christmas conference that i attended over christmas break), mike eerie, spoke on this. he said that God designed for there to be this gap. in fact, we're meant to live in this gap, to live in light of the fact that there is a very noticeable dissonance between our ideal and our reality. because when we live in this gap, we are inexorably pointed to the cross. to Jesus. to the only One that can satisfy us.
often people try to ignore the gap. they try to fill it with things so it gets smaller and they can feel happier. alcohol, drugs, sex, academia, service work, being religious relationships. some bad, some good. but all miss the point. if we're trying to make the gap go away with things born of this fallen world, we're totally wasting our time. think about it. when was the last time you were truly, completely, fully satisfied? things of this world let us down. when we recognize this fact (some of us already recognize it, but instead of admitting it we just try to fill it with something else equally useless), we see that satisfaction can only come from something beyond our realm of sinful, stunted stimuli. we need Jesus.
"Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall not thirst.'" – john 6:35
He's not saying here that coming to Him means you'll never have to eat food or drink anything again. what's going on here is deeper, fuller. people who come to Jesus are completely, utterly satisfied. that is a promise, and the Lord of all creation keeps the promises He makes.
praise Jesus for beautiful, undeserved truth.