"In the beginning…"
Have you ever noticed that some of the most heartbreaking stories begin that way? In the beginning, he was so nice and sweet. In the beginning, I thought it was just a cold. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Yes, there's something heartbreaking about the Bible, because in the beginning was perfection. And then, with a single, willful act, perfection was ruined. The place humanity belonged was stripped away and our perfect union with God was torn apart.
You see, God isn't thrilled with the fact that families fall apart, people destroy themselves, and entire communities turn their backs on each other, often because they're looking for a place to belong.
Because when you really stop to think about it, isn't that at the heart of a lot of problems? Marriages dissolved because they want to find the relationship they're supposed to be in. People abandoning everything because they're looking for a place that will accept them. Communities striving to define themselves so they'll know they are where they belong.
Ask people what they fear most and amongst the public speaking, death, and spiders will be rejection, being alone, and losing a loved one.
We want to belong because we were made to belong.
God designed us to belong with Him and because we drove sin between us, we flounder, looking for that place that will accept us as we are, as we've been made to be.
In the beginning we seek with an open, even eager heart. And when we don't find it, we give up. Like Amelia in A Lady of Esteem, we accept life as it comes, trying to protect ourselves from expecting more because we've given up actual acceptance and settled for simply not hurting.
But we don't have to.
There's more to the story.
After the perfection of our beginning with God was ruined, He didn't give up on us. He created a way to have a new beginning. And then He went ahead and wrote the ending of the story so that there would be no question about obtaining a happily ever after.
If you've spent any time in church, you've likely learned John 3:16 in some version or another.
I learned it in King James. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life."
Check out other translations and they'll use words like anyone, whoever, and everyone who. No matter what version you look at, the only qualification for salvation is believing. The Bible doesn't say anyone who has never messed up. It doesn't say whoever has gotten their life in order. It certainly doesn't say everyone who knows all the answers to all the questions.
It just says anyone.
That includes you.
The news gets even better. John 1:12 says, "But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God…"
Children of God. Family. Belonging. Even if you've messed up before. Even if your earthly family is so dysfunctional they won't even make a reality show about it. Even if you've got problems no one else knows about that forces you to keep everyone at arm's length.
Accepting your membership in the family of God doesn't make life perfect.
Amelia actually encountered more problems once she took her place within her new family, some of which even came from within her new family. That can happen for Christians as well because coming to Christ doesn't mean you stop messing up or never have to deal with people's falacies again.
But you can face a lot when you know who has your back, and once you belong to God, that's it. Nothing and no one can ever take that away from you.
"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels not rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!" Romans 8:38-39
There's a reason we crave belonging in our lives and it's because God created us to belong to Him.
If you've already accepted Christ as your savior and taken your place in the family of God, maybe you've forgotten what that means. The love, acceptance, and unquestionable fact that you have a place you belong. Or perhaps you've never known that. Perhaps you're living like Amelia, convinced that life isn't for you, but it is.
Whosoever includes you.
For more information about what it means to accept God's offer of eternal belonging, visit one (or all) of these sites:
How to Become a Christian
Becoming a Christian can be as easy as A-B-C
Four Step Journey to Peace