Many people think about their lives beginning when they accepted Christ . But God wasn't waiting for you to see His light -- he's been walking with you for years to bring you to the state of being that drew you to surrender to Him. The entirety of God's walk in your life creates a whole framework, one he will use in you to create glory.
You went through hell and high water, suffering drama, broken relationships, loss, pain and then, suddenly, at the bottom, you met God. He showed you that all that pain could have purpose, that there is more to life than the same behaviors and habits that kept you in so much pain, opened the doors to healing and forgiveness ... and your life changed forever.
But ... that's not when God met you. God met you in the beginning. He's walked with you every mile, every minute of your life. Everything you have thus endured was never endured alone.
You have never, once, been alone.
And you never will be, because this newfound faith you've embraced won't always be as wonderful as it might have been when you first begin this more-deliberate side of life's journey with God. There will come difficult times where you will question what you believe and how you believe it, but God won't stop walking with you in the midst of questions. Just trust him enough to give him time to answer your more difficult questions.
Your walk of life will weave and rise and fall, like all journeys, and it will pass in and out of shadow. There will be times you never saw or heard God, but it did not make him less present. It meant there was reason to feel alone, even if that reason is simply that we want complete control and all the glory of living our lives. Even if that means we fall into ruin and pain, God will give us what we want.
We so often are spoiled little brats who want to take credit for all the good times in our lives but then give God all the credit for not rescuing us during the bad. Or maybe even ask: What did I wrong? Why is God punishing me? Does God hate me?
I'm a firm believer that many of the problems in our lives come from our own poor choices. It doesn't mean we "deserve" bad things. It merely means we made short-sighted decisions and we were unprepared for the consequences. Blame your parents, blame society, blame yourself, but we are rather ignorant of history -- more so nowadays -- and forget how certain self-serving decisions don't create the positive prosperity we so wish we had.
God walks alongside us through those bad decisions and subsequent consequences; not because he wants us to "get what we deserve," but so that when we finally get a whole and complete understanding of the shit we just landed in, he can speak into our hearts and explain clearly how living life for and by ourselves just doesn't work.
He lets us have our way for several reasons. First is that he loves us. He loves us enough to let us have our way. That seems terrible from someone who believes love means forcing other people to do what's best for them. God loves us enough to respect our freedom, because if he doesn't, he negates the value of our love to him in return. Like forcing your wife to do what you think is in her best interest, she won't love you in return for taking away her right to make her own choices.
It applies little differently here.
Second is the value that comes from walking through the mire, ourselves, to know how truly empty rock-bottom feels. That makes his redemption that much more powerful in our lives, and the power of that conversion shine so much more brightly to others on their own paths through bad decisions.
Third, these are our lives. God made us, but he does not own you. You must surrender to him if you want him to take complete possession of your life, your heart and your soul. For him to do otherwise is theft, slavery and worse. God ever offers us a way out of our lives, but they are ours until we give them to him. Surrender has great power, but he will not force us to it.
So where are you now? Are you waddling through the mire, wondering where God is? Can I assure you that he is there, but that there is purpose in all of this?
Trust God. He is here. I promise you that.