"I found Him!"
I will never forget those words.
We had just finished one of our Christmas services, and I was standing in the atrium of our church this past weekend greeting folks and catching up with people. One of the members of our youth group came up with their mom displaying a slight smile on their face. The mom was smiling too...and they both politely waited to speak as I finished my conversation with a couple other folks.
This youth has spent the last seven months really searching and struggling with God. They held off on getting baptized last spring because they weren't sure about God. Their family loved and supported them, but they continued to struggle spiritually, slowly moving further and further away from God. They still came to church and I had the honor of praying with and talking with them several times. They just chose to not accept Christ, and eventually let their family know that they didn't want anything to do with Him or God...period. It was a decision that had slowly been made over the past six-seven months, but it was very purposeful.
This decision was made aware to me at church a few weeks ago after a Sunday morning Bible study. I was saddened, but still kept praying for them, not knowing how, where, when, or if God would ever become real to them. I had no quick answer...no miraculous statement...not really any idea at all. All I had was prayer and love.
So there they stood on Christmas Eve. They had just finished attending the worship service with their family, and there they were, three weeks removed from respectfully informing me that they wanted nothing to do with God. I smiled, said hi to them and their mom, and gave them both a quick hug. Mom softly said they had something to share. I looked down at the student, and the tears welled up. Same with mom.
"I found Him."
That's all they were able to say as they smiled and gave me one more quick hug. The mom thanked me and they both moved on.
WOW! I have no clue when, where, how, etc...absolutely no details. They admitted several times that they didn't feel anything from God no matter how long they searched...how many times they prayed...how many Bible verses they read. What I do know is here's a young person who had less than a month ago publicly denied Christ, and somehow He was now a reality to them. I also know I will never forget that moment...that look on their face...that statement:
"I found Him."
Sometimes God feels far away. Sometimes we question if He even exists or what good following Him really is. Even when we don't feel anything from God, He's still there. Philippians 4:7 says that "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and your mind." That's powerful.
There's plenty of things that we can pursue; plenty of options out there; plenty of things to find. There will never be someone or something larger or more important for you to find than a relationship with God the Father Almighty. Never give up trying to discover Him. Never stop learning about Him. Never stop depending on Him. Never stop serving Him.
When everything seems hopeless or lost, there are three words we can find comfort and strength in.
"I found Him."