Have you ever gone through a time of such deep darkness that you forgot what the light looked like? I have. Anxiety, depression, black anger, hurt, frustration, and grief all accompany this tragic state. If you were ever a teenager, you likely can emphasize with this.
Teenage life is, after all, a trying time. We grow at a rapid rate between the ages of 13 and 20, often maturing so quickly (or slowly, at times) that we become different people almost overnight.
The first such period in my life took place in the summer of 2019. This summer was highlighted by several unique events, including the death of my dog and the God-ordained removal of a destructive relationship in my life. At the end of this summer, many of my closest friends noted the changes that had taken place in me. Some were obvious; my voice had deepened, I had grown three inches and my mustache had finally appeared before being mercilessly removed.
On a deeper level, I had found peace in many of the difficult struggles I had gone through as a Christian. God had strengthened my faith as He challenged me to pursue him whole-heartedly, and He continues to confront me every single day.
“You’re being passive again, Elisha.”
“You’re not pursuing me or my Word.”
“You’re not praying.”
“You’re hurting people.”
I continue to struggle to walk the walk set before me. For some reason, I had a picture of my future walk in my mind as easy and carefree. This could not be further from the truth. One of the biggest lessons I have learned recently is that true Christians aren’t the ones that have their lives together; they’re the humans that struggle the most but know how to admit it.
Darkness envelops this world and encroaches further into our lives every day. There’s no way around it- I’m a sinful, depraved man. Yet God, in His eternal love, continues to pursue me. He doesn’t let me walk down the dangerous paths. He confronts me on the deepest heart issues and continues to do so. My pride, my anger, my hurt, and my depression are all seen and known by God. Nothing hides from His sight.
When I, a human, am confronted by God’s truth, my first reaction is to make an excuse or point the finger.
“I can’t read my Bible because school and sports are taking all my time.”
“I’m hurting people because they hurt me first or because I’m tired and not thinking.”
“I failed to lead because they failed to be leadable.”
If I accepted these lies as truth, how could I hope to live with myself? Better yet, how could I hope to grow in God beyond that of a mind-numbing crawl? Sometimes receiving God’s confrontation of my own sin requires making an incredibly painful decision. I cannot afford to have regrets.
Rambling aside, I continue to find my perception growing and shaping my worldview. My understanding of humanity, fueled by a deep longing to find the truth in this lie-ridden world, has grown in ways I could never imagine. I finally begin to understand, in whatever form this takes. School topics? The human heart? Sin and its consequences? All have been dissected by my perception, judged by my experience, reviewed with philosophy and logic, then stored for future application. Whether correctly or incorrectly, this process moves forward.
I’m sinful, yes. I screw up, make mistakes, hurt people, allow sin and temptation into my heart, and reflect it out onto those I love. I’m hypocritical in most regards and foolish in more. Still, I acknowledge these as from Satan and continue to humbly beg for Christ to mold and shape my heart. I will not stand by and passively allow sin to control my life. There are too many examples of this in the lives of those around me for me to see first-hand.
Christianity has been corrupted far more than any of us realize. American Christians are, to most regards, spiritually sleeping, perpetually brain-dead without any chance to grow faster than a snail’s pace. Cultural syncretism is the new norm, and any Christian that doesn’t want to be “cancelled” conforms or allows himself to be conformed to the things of this world. This is the reason we have Christians who believe abortion is appropriate, same-sex marriage is good, and pre-marital sex is appropriate (see my note below).
Please, dear reader, continue to challenge yourself. Christianity isn’t a singular goal to be reached, a finish line to pass and then relax after. It is a lifelong marathon coupled with temporary sprints. Ask questions, challenge yourself, and be challenged by those around you, no matter what station of life they may be in. Pray for those around you (myself included, please), especially teens, because you don’t know what darkness can lie beneath the surface.
In the meantime, walk with me. This blog has evolved from an “Elisha’s thoughts” blog into “Elisha’s journey” journal. If you’ve read my older writing, you know what to expect. If not, well, don’t worry too much. I intend to confront myself more than I attempt to confront others. Yet without Christ, neither of us can hope to be confronted. But the question still remains: will you let Him?
Author’s note: My post on Pre-Marital Sex was controversial to say the least. Many did not appreciate someone of my age/station writing about such a topic. The truth of the matter is that while some of what I wrote on that day was not appropriate for my reader base (hence why the post was edited), much of what I wrote was a summary of my recent school lessons on that topic. Because I am deeply disgusted with the actions of my peers related to that topic, that post was written towards these people that believe pre-marital sex is appropriate. If I hurt or angered you in any way, you have my most sincere apologies. Again, much of this post was written on the back of my recent lessons and disgust towards my peers. The experiences I wrote of are not my own and they should not have been included for this reason.