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Jesus Changed My Life

Written by Cale Little How has the life, death, and resurrection made a difference in my life? In 2001, I remember my tears on red velveted, dark oak pews from my first encounter with the death of a family member. I would die also? Surely not. But this Jesus took my place so I could live? I believed God would save me from death.

In 2009, I remember a series of losses, change, and great disappointments. I learned his second promise remained true: He would never leave me or forsake me. With this truth in mind, I followed through with believer’s baptism. It was freeing to find that He had and always would be with me. My heart mended, and I rejoiced in His presence.

In 2013, I remember my dismay, when during another difficult season, seated on a blue couch in my home, the first words of prayer from my mouth were: “God, I hate you.” His response through Scripture was essentially, “You’ve forgotten Me. I am God, and you are not. Remember Me.” My expectation that such devastation and disconnection would be avoided if I followed God starkly contrasted with the darkness before me. I had retreated into a fantasy realm, not wanting to face the part I’d played in the darkness, disconnection, and distance between (what I perceived) God and myself, and between myself and others. That wilderness stretched on for a long time. I hid from God, blaming Him for my shame, when all He asked me to remember was the love He had for me and His promise to never leave.

In 2015, I remember my attempts to follow God while not changing the protective addictions and avoidances I’d developed. I see now that I was trying to follow Him while still “preserving” my security. I realize now that I had lost trust and faith in God to protect me through death, disconnection, and distance. I was unwilling to accept that the very proverbial potions I was drinking to strengthen me were the poisons that prevented me. I failed a semester of grad school. I hid this truth from everyone. The darkness only seemed to deepen.

In 2016, I remember where I stood in the living room when the truth came out. The carpet was beige and brown. That same blue couch against the wall. God’s Word tells us the truth will set us free, and friend, I believe that. But I was terrified. I could not see a way that this truth would not kill me. It forced a choice. Do I trust the fantasy that promises safety and success but erodes the long term, or do I fully live in reality as it is, trusting God’s promise to see through to the other side? I chose the second. Again and again and again, I chose Christ’s promises in my present reality, until sin’s hold began to loosen. As it loosened, more and more I had to come to terms with the effect my own attempts to protect myself from death, disconnection, and distance had been part of its cause. This was the darkest season I’ve ever trod. By God’s grace, I am still alive to write this. “Though I fell, I was not cast headlong, for the Lord upheld my hand.” (Ps. 37:24)

In 2020 and 2021, I remember facing the end of two paths God had placed me on. Both represented the faith I had walked through the season of darkness. I’d thought those careers would be salvific. As each of these paths closed, the Lord comforted me. Our relationship had matured over those years. He showed me Christ’s own words, “he did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” He showed me that death, disconnection, and distance are not the end of the story. By sharing in His death, I have found life. It’s holy communion.

Now, in 2023, seated on a brown couch with a blue blanket, I remember all that God has done in my life. His life, death, and resurrection provides hope. As the author of Hebrews writes, “We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” In believing Christ died for me and will never leave or forsake me, I’ve learned that obedience, even done perfectly, does not protect me from death, disconnection, and distance. That’s not the purpose of obedience.

“It is finished!” Means that, though we yet live and we are passing away daily, our inner spirit is being renewed day by day. “For this light, momentary affliction is producing in us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” As a result, pain and fear have become prompts to intentionally remember and embody His hope and love in the moment. Life, Death, Life again. As John Lucas sings, “There’s a time for everything, until we crown the risen king.” His love is perfect.

I invite you to conclude this reflection by listening to ‘Time’ by John Lucas.

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