You may have noticed that I dedicate my books to someone called JC, and you might be wondering…
Who Is JC?
He’s the love of my life.
He’s my best friend.
He’s my confidant.
He comforts me when I’m lonely,
cheers me up when I’m sad,
delights in my joy,
protects me from bullies,
defends me against liars,
stands up for me when no one else will,
and is fiercely loyal to me even when my closest friends and my own family desert me.
And he will do the same for you,
because he loves you just as much as he loves me.
His name is Jesus Christ, and he’s been waiting for you all this time.
A long, long time ago, God made the world and it was wonderful and beautiful. But God’s so full of love – He is love, and He overflows with it – that He wanted somebody to lavish His love on.
So He made us, because – from the beginning – He desired to love us.
Some tricky stuff went down in the garden with Adam and Eve and a snake called the devil, and the ending wasn’t happy for anyone involved.
But what exactly was that sin that Adam and Eve committed? They were tricked, weren’t they? Was it really their fault?
Here’s what was so bad about it. Adam and Eve were already in perfect relationship with God. Everything was as it should have been. They were living life as God intended.
But then the snake said, “Psst. There’s more. God’s holding out on you. He doesn’t want you to eat fruit from that tree because if you do you’ll be like Him, and then you can live without Him.”
Seems reasonable, right? Who can blame Adam and Eve for listening to the serpent?
But the voices we choose to listen to and the things we choose to believe are the difference between life and death for us.
Adam and Eve believed a lie.
And the moment they did, there was a rift in their relationship with God. It was so bad that after they’d sinned and God came looking for them, giving them the chance to come clean, be honest with Him, and restore their relationship to what it’d been, they hid from Him.
They believed a lie and it broke their trust.
The Bible talks a lot about faith, but faith is just another word for trust. Just like you can’t have a healthy relationship with your spouse if you can’t trust them, you can’t have a healthy relationship with God if you can’t trust Him.
Adam and Eve chose to believe a lie instead of trusting God, and their choice to believe a lie was a choice to spend their lives far from Him, afraid of Him.
But God is patient, and God is merciful.
There is no life apart from God. God knows this, and because He loves us, He wants to spare us from death. And what is death? Separation from Him. So He hasn’t withdrawn from us. He sends rain for the crops of the righteous and the wicked. He allows the sun to shine on the just and the corrupt. He’s slow to anger and He has compassion on all that He has made.
But because we keep not trusting Him, our relationship can’t be repaired.
As we run further and further from the safety of His presence, we enter more and more dangerous waters, and there are deadly consequences to our actions.
The consequence of sin is death.
But God loves us. So He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to absorb the consequence that we deserve, and – instead of punishing us for not doing what He said – He gives us life instead.
When your child runs into the street without first checking to see if there are cars, are you angry because of what they did, or are you angry because that action could result in death? Do you stop loving them because because they broke your rule about always checking for cars, or do you hold them close when they come back because you’re so glad they’re okay?
God isn’t waiting to punish us. He longs to welcome us.
But we expect a punishment, so we don’t turn to Him.
Just like in the garden, when Adam and Eve could have gone to God and spoken with Him openly, when they could have made things right but instead chose to run and hide in shame, we too so often run from God, believing He won’t love us. Believing He’s a tyrant for establishing those rules in the first place. Believing He’s cruel or non-existent because He allows us, in our free will, to make a mess of all He’s made.
But why didn’t Adam and Eve go talk with God? Why don’t we come clean with Him?
Because we still believe a lie.
We believe that God will punish us. We believe He isn’t good. We believe he doesn’t show mercy and won’t be gentle.
But why do we believe those things?
Maybe, like Eve, we heard a whisper in our ear, and we listened to the wrong voice.
But God is good. In fact, He’s better than anyone has ever told you.
He has spent your whole life trying to get close to you. Trying to spend time with you. Trying to show you just how much He loves you and earnestly desiring that you’d love Him back.
He’s God, so He could just make you love Him, right? But love that’s not a choice isn’t love at all. He respects us and honors us and cares about our dignity. He won’t force us to love Him.
Instead He sends us love letters. That time you had a great day beyond all odds? When there were so many “coincidences” back to back it just seemed like fate was looking out for you? That was God, telling you He loves you. Waiting to hear back from you.
And, until the day you die, He’ll keep on courting you and trying to show love to you.
But God is a gentleman. He won’t give you what you don’t want.
If, at the end of your life, you still don’t want to be with Him, He’ll give you what you want. He’ll let you have your way.
But you’ve never experienced true separation from God because He’s merciful, and His goodness falls on the people who love Him and the people who don’t alike. True separation from God is total agony, terrible regret, soul-sucking remorse, and an all-consuming torment.
True separation from God, literally, is hell.
And is God cruel to “send” you there? No. You chose that when you rejected His love, over and over and over again, for your entire life. The way you responded to His courtship was to say, in choices and in actions, “God, I would rather go to hell than have to be with You.”
Can you imagine how it breaks His heart?
He wants to spare you all that suffering.
He loves you with an everlasting love.
And He is waiting for you even now.
Are you ready to meet him?