This is a guest post from Linamize, a first-year graduate student originally from Eritrea, who is now studying to be a physician’s assistant in California and who has guest posted before. In today's post, she shares an eye-opening "moment of truth" she experienced while reading a passage in Scripture recently. If you too are interested in guest posting, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
"And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, please, between Me and My vineyard. What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes?" (Isaiah 5:3-4)
When I opened my Bible this morning and read that, I felt as if the Lord was speaking directly to me (or about me).
What more could I ask for from life? Despite the wrong turns I've taken, the bad decisions I've made, the number of people I've hurt, and the ugly things I've said, my life is fine for the most part. I have no complaints. When I hear people say, “bad things happen to good people” it scares me. Does that mean I am one of bad people? Is that why all those good things happen to me?
I might not get what I want everyday, but every time when I look back I realize that what I wanted was not what I needed. I don’t believe in God because my mom believed but because I felt his merciful grace upon me.
Many people see me as a very good and spiritual person. But they see only the outside - like not missing any of the days of fasting and filling my room with religious pictures and Bible verses. But little do they know about me on the inside. They don’t know all this is to cover up, or compensate for the many temptations I fail at.
Controlling what you eat is the easiest thing to do when you have other urges to fight. For me, it is very easy to replace whole milk with almond milk, or a cheese burger with a veggie burger, - in fact I'll even add some avocado on top and it's delicious! Fasting is not really a sacrifice - if anything I eat healthier and it makes my skin glow!
Fasting never stopped me from sinning and this breaks my heart. Today we are few days away from completing the fast of the Apostles. During this time, I only ate vegan (unless a restaurant cheated me).
But, what breaks my heart is that I grew even further away from God during this time. I don’t know how I slipped away, but I did and before I knew it, I found myself far away from where I used to be. I recite the Lord’s prayer every morning but my mind is elsewhere - thinking about grudges or remembering the movie I saw last night.
I know I am far away from God because I get angry a lot. I find myself frustrated for no reason. I am anxious and restless.
"As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?" (Psalm 42:1-2)
Yes, my soul is crying for God, but with each day I am normalizing sin more and more. I find myself indulging the urges of my flesh and allowing sin to control me. I avoid listening to the screams of my soul and would instead sit in front of the TV with snacks in my hand - despite the words of Philippians 3:19:
“Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.”
I don’t want to be one of these people St. Paul is talking about in that verse. I don’t want my glory to be in my shame. And this morning it hit me, yes what more could God give me that would keep me away from sinning. He held me high gracefully, he overflowed me with success. He took away my worries and showed me what it really feels like to have PEACE. What more would I need to keep me away from this sinful behavior.
I am that wild grape, that turned out to be sour, even when the farmer worked so hard to keep those grapes sweet. As long as I am living, however, that means the farmer has not given up on me. He is still working on me, and now it's up to me to try to become that sweet grape.
A grape that a farmer would be so proud of.