My name is Michelle Bogner and here is my story of God’s grace in my life…
Are you satisfied with life? We all have a need to be satisfied, but how do we find what will fill this need? How do you get rid of that empty feeling? (For my people have done two evil things: They have forsaken me the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all! Jeremiah 2:13)
I searched a long time before I found the answer. I was raised in a Christian home, attending church regularly where I was taught about God and Jesus. I believed in God, but that wasn’t enough. (Do you still think it’s enough just to believe that there is a God? Well, even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror! James 2:19) Every time a preacher called people down to the altar, I was there pouring my heart out only to find myself being drawn down to the altar again the next time. I didn’t have a relationship with God, so I never filled the emptiness.
When I was 13 my family started attending a much larger church with more activities for young people. I soon discovered that those who call themselves Christians were not always kind or loving. I did not find a place among the other teens and was treated cruelly by the leaders. I realize now that they were probably only teasing me to include me, but for a teen wanting to belong, it was hurtful. I decided at that time I wanted no part of church. I became rebellious trying to fit in with my peers at school regardless of the cost. I became ambitious to be recognized in one way or another and worked toward perfect grades to prove my worthiness. However, graduating valedictorian of my class did not bring the acceptance or satisfaction that I longed for because I was not working to please God. (Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God. I Corinthians 10:31)
I married half way through college expecting to find the sense of belonging that I wanted. I stopped attending church and if asked about my faith, refused to call myself a Christian because I was very aware of my sinfulness and knowing the holiness of Christ, did not want to stain his name with my deeds. When I had my first child I felt the need to make sure he was brought up in a church, so we started attending again as a family. I once again felt drawn to know God better and to reach out to him since I had discovered that neither marriage nor being a mother gave me the satisfaction I was looking for or the sense of belonging.
When we moved four years later and had to find a new church I ran into the same disappointment I had in my teens. The people in the church were no different than everyone else around me. Their foul language and desires for worldly pleasures frustrated me. Again I was discouraged and turned away from the church and once again became rebellious.
After a divorce and remarriage God sent someone into my life to lead me to a church that understood how to live a satisfying life. I was received with love and understanding and began learning how to have a relationship with God instead of simply believing that he exists. God brought me to my knees one morning as I was reading in Psalms and I repented of my past sins, turning away from them and gave myself completely to Jesus.
All the ways I had tried to find satisfaction through success in academics and career, relationships, marriage, children were merely idols I had put before God. I had broken the first and second commandments, as well as all the others. I had put idols in the place of the only one who can satisfy, the Lord God our Creator.
My faith was quickly tested when I lost custody of my children. One of the reasons given in the order was that I was too righteous. While this was heart-breaking, I also knew I deserved the consequences of losing my children and rejoiced that I was counted as one of His children to be persecuted for His name’s sake. (Be happy if you are insulted for being a Christian for then the glorious Spirit of God will come upon you. But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his wonderful name! I Peter 4:14, 16 For if you are willing to suffer for Christ, you have decided to stop sinning. And you won’t spend the rest of your life chasing after evil desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. I Peter 4: 1b-2). Since then my relationship with God has grown every time I study His word and learn about Him. I finally have found complete satisfaction in belonging to Jesus, the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, my Savior and Creator. I am the daughter of the Almighty God and belong to His family. I also find a greater satisfaction in all I do now that I do it for God’s glory instead of my own.
You can know the same satisfaction and also belong to His family. You will never find anything else that will fill the emptiness and longing you feel. This world will only take away from you until there is nothing left.
Jesus left the riches of heaven and became a man so that you could have abundance. (For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. I Peter 1:18-19) There are no promises that problems will go away, but He will be with you to help you through them. (Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33b) He can fill you with a peace and joy like you have never known. You will know to whom you belong. (Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us B they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:1-5)
If you want satisfaction turn to Jesus, acknowledge that you are a sinner and can not please God on your own, turn away from your sins, and follow Jesus. I encourage you to read through the book of John in the New Testament of the Bible to learn more about Jesus and his life. Romans is also a good book (also in the New Testament) to learn about having a relationship with God.