You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 NIV
A few weeks ago I read an article from a pastor who shared this story. One afternoon, as he was sitting in his office reading through the mail, a young lady walked in and asked to talk. This woman was no stranger. In fact, the pastor had spent many afternoons talking and sharing the Bible with her. She was a prostitute, a veteran of the streets who carried many scars from abuse and rejection. This conversation would turn out different than the previous ones, however. After several probing questions, the young lady announced that she was finally ready to follow Christ. She said she wanted to give Jesus control of her life and move away from her past. The pastor was thrilled. He led the young lady in a prayer and shared with her what a difference that such a decision would make for her. Then, he asked the improbable. As the lady stood to leave, he said, “Before you go, let’s burn the book. It’s time to let go of your past.” He was referring to the little black book she carried with names and numbers and contact information for her “clients.”
She thrust her hand into the purse and looked at the pastor with teary eyes. She hesitated causing him to ask, “What’s the problem? Is everything okay?”
She quickly thrust the book back into the recesses of her large bag. “I can’t do that pastor. I can’t let go of the book.”
“Oh…” was all he could mutter. He really did not know how to respond. A thick silence hung between them. Then, she mustered these words as she stood frozen in the middle of the room, “I guess I really didn’t want to follow Him bad enough.” Quickly she turned and left.
Maybe the pastor had not clearly explained what it meant to follow Christ. Whatever the case, her story resembles many who begin a journey with Christ. We want so desperately to trust the stories we hear, the promises God has made and the freedom He offers. Yet, we find ourselves clinging to the “book”–a past filled with hurt and desperation. Somehow–strangely–it comforts us to not let go. We hold on to the hurt. Hang on to the sleepless nights and the painful memories. To trust God with all of this would leave us…bare…naked…exposed.
Understand this. This is exactly what Jesus wants from me…from you. He’s not looking for a grown man with all the answers. It’s a good thing. I don’t know one. Instead, he’s looking for someone just like me, someone with a desperate past. Someone with broken pieces. Someone with uncontrollable addictions, out of control emotions or bitterness that can’t be released. Jesus said it himself. He didn’t come looking for folks who had it all together. He looked for people just like you and me. Now, you must learn to let go of the “book”. Entrust Him with your past–He already knows every minute of it. Entrust Him with your future–His plans are better than yours any way. Entrust Him with all of you. You want be disappointed once you let go.