August 29, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Heather Allen –

I thought being a teenager was painful. I disliked the sense of awkward vulnerability that accompanied those years. I disliked being subjected to the sheer foolishness that is public high school. And I disliked feeling torn between the numb robotic actions expected of me, so I could fit the status quo, and the desire to flip expectations upside down.

So I tell my teenager the things I wish I had understood way back then, in the olden days. I tell her not to worry who likes her, that this is the time to develop into the woman God wants her to be.The answers to her identity questions are found in scripture. I tell her loneliness is a large part of the human experience. But that it can serve a big purpose if we allow it to. It can drive us away from trying to please others and straight toward God. And when we embrace His love, flaky acceptance we experience elsewhere tastes like saccharine. Once you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good there is no substitute.

At every age we need to know God’s word is true when it says we ourselves become a well-watered garden when we focus on meeting the needs of the needy instead of our own. When we pour out, God pours in. And when we strive to fill ourselves we are emptier than before. There is no shortage of alternatives we can cram our lives with and when we do the heart grows heavier and the spirit more afflicted.

I recently heard a man I admire say salvation is not just for Heaven but Earth also. Our freedom from sin and death are for the here and now. The more I wrestle with my sin nature, the more relieved I am that God can and will clean it up. And with precision better than a surgeon His words separate the bone and marrow. I lie down peacefully, gazing up at Him through a starry sky and wonder why I ever choose anything but His presence and an obedient life. Does it make me an old soul to say all else is meaningless, “a chasing after the wind”? (Ecc. 1:14 NIV)

I grew up doing all the right things and being in all the right places. I even went on a spiritual renewal retreat, when it meant not going out with a boy I liked. I remember thinking that living right was something we did, muscling our way through life. That to shine and be a light was mostly self-driven. But when I was broken beyond human repair, God began to speak through me. He began to heal and clean me. I eagerly participated, desiring to be whole and new. I still climb up on the surgeon’s table and hand Him any tool He asks for. I hand Him my confession, my desires, my fears, and my heartache. He cuts out the disease of sin, cleans the festering wound, and stitches the cut that I tried to cover with a band-aid. He did it yesterday, and He’ll be back tomorrow. When I call Him in the middle of the night He is there.

Why trade Him for anything else? He is the only long-term satisfaction in life because He is life.
“In Him was life and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4 KJV).

About Heather Allen

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One Response to “Shine”
  1. Hally Franz says:

    So often we want or feel the need for a second opinion, or perhaps we resist the proposed treatments and medicines suggested for an ailment or illness. It is comforting to know that when are is His hands, He knows exactly what is needed to make us better again. Thanks, Heather, for reminding us of this!

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