By Sabriya English
In my world where my options for coping include either jamming heroin up my veins, being involved in countless sexual relationships, or denying my problems to the point of nervous breakdown by age fifty, would it make sense to cast my hopes upon an obscure carpenter with a deadly case of god-complex?
Those times that academic stress threatens to send me plunging off of the 250-year-old ivy tower, would it make any sense to go cower into a corner with a little-"g" god who has no more the power to create me, than the ability to move mountains on my behalf? No! If I am going to serve Him instead of a wooden calf, my God must be one of ultimate power, matchless beauty, sovereign authority, and consistent grace; anything else would be a waste of precious time.
Although I have known Jesus since the age of seven, it was not until high school that I became sick of my years of lackadaisical, impotent, religious pabulum. It took me that long to realize that God is not the God of any man's tradition or opinion; nor is He the God of hackneyed ritual. He wants a relationship with us. Today, I can praise His name more loudly because I have tasted and seen how beautifully He carries me through rough situations, causing me to cling more tightly to Him.
It is a welcome relief to be able to lay everything on the table before someone who will not laugh or be turned off. God does not require me to be perfect: He only requires that I repent of my sins and obey Him, living in a way that would speak truly of Him.
What makes a personal relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, stand out? The relief that salvation is not a list of thou shalt nots, or threats of inevitable, eternal damnation. It is not some outrageous burden upon my shoulders. Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Now doesn't that sound so refreshing?
A crutch for the weak? Show me a person with minimal problems and the ability to handle each one perfectly; one who doesn't struggle under his own weight, or cry or fret or worry...he lives between Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. A crutch for the weak? Oh yes!
I saw that a satisfying life could not be obtained through alcohol, good grades, good deeds, or Hagen Daaz. Only when I confessed my sin, and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, did I know what He meant when He promised life and life more abundantly. It feels good to stand up for something-someOne and to not have to worry about pleasing everyone else. As allergic as I am to pain, I could not say that I would die for a belief unless it had already proved itself worth dying for. I, like so many other students here [Princeton] and around the world, have found that belief in our relationship with Jesus the Christ.
"I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad." (Psalms 16:8,9)