My last year of middle school, I started to drift away from the idea of God, and even questioned the very existence of God. At that time in my life, there was so much sorrow and pain going on all around me. My grandfather had unexpectedly died, my grandmother’s alzheimer’s had taken a turn for the worst, and there were just so many complications that made my life overwhelming, so I kind of gave up. The situations that were thrown at me were too difficult for me to handle and comprehend that I just stopped trying. I stopped trying in school, I stopped trying with my friends, and I just didn’t care anymore. I started making decisions based on whether it would dull out the extreme pain I was feeling, even if the pain only went away for a short period of time. I thought that this would solve my problems. I thought that as long as I isolated myself and blocked out anyone who tried to help, I couldn’t get hurt. While feeling this extreme loneliness, I came up with the idea that God was done with me. I had made many very big mistakes, so I came to the conclusion that God was so disappointed in my decisions that he just gave up on me. This feeling of abandonment sparked the conclusion that there is no God.  I thought to myself, “Why would there be a God that claims to love us so much, then make us go through extreme suffering? If He has seen me suffering for so long why hasn’t He intervened?”  The truth was, that the pain and suffering I felt that year, was His way of intervening.

Today, there is no doubt in my mind that there is a God, and that his love for us is greater than anything the world can throw at you. But, sometimes in order to get your attention when He sees you drifting away from Him, He has to grab you by the collar of your shirt to pull you back in. Sometimes this might hurt, but He does it because of His eternal love for you. This may not make much sense, so think of it this way: We are God’s children, and the enemy is that dangerous stranger with the “candy” in his van. When God sees us walking toward the stranger with the “candy” and saying yes to getting in the car, He will shout at us to stop. He will warn us about what will happen if we keep walking. If we still don’t stop, God grabs us by the arm, or by the hair, or by the shirt, it doesn’t matter how he grabs you, he just does because he sees you falling into the enemies trap. And when he grabs you by the hair, it is going to sting. And when he grabs you by the arm, it’s going to be painful. And when he grabs the collar of your shirt, it’s going to be hard to breathe, but you’ll gain your breath back, and the stinging will die down, and the pain will go away, And your Father is going to look down on you and say, “I know that hurt, but I had to do it. You were headed into a trap. It was the only thing I could do. I told you to stop, but you didn’t listen. I warned you about the consequences, but you kept walking. After that I had to grab you, so you could be saved.”

The shouting and the warning that God does to get your attention, are those little downfalls you face when you start to stray from Him. And that moment when you feel like you are in the deepest and darkest well possible, and there is no escape, is the pain you feel when He grabs your hair, or your arm or your collar. That final feeling of safety after He grabbed you and is telling you it was all he could do to save you, is when he reaches down into that deep, dark well, pulls you out into the light and says, “Don’t give up now, I’m not done with you.”

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