The first time I went through Life Explored, I found myself in tears… on more than one occasion! Although I’d been immersed in Christian culture since childhood, I was taken aback by the powerful truths about our Savior so uniquely revealed through these beautiful, vulnerable stories. Perhaps the story that struck me deepest was Session 5, entitled “The Fulfilling God.”
For those who haven’t been through Life Explored yet, I’ll give a quick summary of this session. Set in ancient Japan, this session tells the story of a woman who has run away from her husband and children to live as a geisha. Despite her exciting life away from her family, she battles discontentment, a longing for more, and a soul-consuming search for fulfillment.
The husband in this story sets out on a long journey through dark forests and craggy plains to retrieve his wife. Once he reaches her, he endures a harsh beating and offers what must be all of his savings in exchange for his wife.
Broken but victorious, he brings his wife back to their home. The family is together again, but currents of shame and distance ripple beneath the surface. One morning, the children wake up to find their mother is gone. She has left them yet again for the trappings of another life.
The husband is devastated. But in his sorrow, his child holds up his hat and satchel towards him. The message is clear. Go get her. Bring her back. Again and again.
As I watched the woman view herself in a mirror, I saw my own face reflected. I remembered my own struggles with faith, the seasons where I ran away from church, from community, even from my belief in God. I remembered the insatiable desire in my heart for something real. Real love.
What silenced these voices of doubt and discontent was not hearing more sermons, doing more good deeds, or having all my questions answered. Rather, it was the unrelenting, real love of Jesus that resurrected my faith. Today, through the prayers, affection and grace of God’s Spirit and people, I re-learn again and again what Christ’s faithful love looks like.
We talk a lot about love, especially this time of year. And why not? In a culture of perfection and rejection, people are desperate for real love. I’m confident you know people in your church, family or social circles that are searching for this kind of love. Maybe you are too.
If you’ve shared the Gospel over and over again, only to face rejection and abandonment, take heart. Jesus has walked this road too. Ask him to fill you with his love for others that never runs out. Pray for the patience and endurance to share God’s love one more time.
Perhaps, you find yourself in need of a fresh experience of God’s love. Remember, the Gospel is not just for those who don’t know him yet. Christ’s love on the cross is for all of us, even for us who’ve known Jesus a long time, but have wrestled, doubted or walked away. If you find yourself pulling away from God’s love, know that the He is still close at hand, waiting for your response. I pray you experience his love in a life-changing way- again and again.
To learn more about Christianity, visit our relaunched website: www.christianityexplored.org.