“Give in to God, come to terms with Him and everything will turn out just fine. Let Him tell you what to do; take His words to heart. Come back to God Almighty and He’ll rebuild your life.” Job 22:23
I remember standing in front of my fireplace at age twenty-three thinking about where I was in life. I could not understand how my life had become such a mess. I was twenty-two years old. I was enrolled in college full time, a military member, and I was working two part-time jobs. I had no money, no car, and extraordinarily little stability. I was barely making it by. Each day was an even bigger challenge than the previous one.
As I stood by the fireplace that day, I quietly began to contemplate where my life currently was, how I arrived there, and what could I do to get out. It felt as if everything around me was crumbling into pieces day by day. I had become numb over time without realizing it. I had learned to be satisfied with an empty life filled with displeasure and discontentment. For the longest time, I thought that the problem was …. What I thought was the problem – no real career, no money, and no transportation – were not the problems at all. The real problem was me. It was the way that I had decided to live my life. I had embarked on a life that was not guided by Christian principles that I was taught as a child. I thought that I could call the shots and that I could get away with breaking the rules and making new ones. Deep down inside, I felt as if something was missing. I literally felt as if there was a hole in my heart. That hole was the part of me that had become numb and calloused over by my reckless life decisions. I remember asking God to help me. I wanted to feel again. I wanted to know what it felt like to be happy – to feel real joy that would bring life back to parts of me that had long since stopped feeling. It was just a moment, a very brief conversation, more like a passing thought – but it was a real moment that I can still remember twenty some years later. But in the moment, I knew that God had heard my passing thought, my quick request, my sincere prayer, and I knew that one day I would feel again, and my life would begin to turn around. Most people will assume upon reading this that I was not a Christian, but I was. I had made a sincere public confession, but I did not submit to His way of doing things. But that day, I repented, I submitted, and I rededicated my life to Him. This time around, it would be on His terms and not my own.
He began to rebuild my life once I began listening as He directed. The changes that He brought about were subtle, but significant. A year later, my life was completely changed. It was a trying year of growth as I learned to think and respond differently. Today, things are vastly different. My fireplace moment now reminds me of where I was and the joy that He had always had planned for me.