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By Mégan Schilder

It’s been the greatest adventure of my life realising God—how close He is, and how close He’s always been. It’s funny how I am still surprised when I find Him in places my charismatic/Pentecostal upbringing secretly, ignorantly sneers at. The journey to realising God’s order of peace for my life and life at large has me realising more and more that He is found where He is genuinely desired.

I was raised by wonderful, God-fearing parents. My dad, the zealous, barrier-breaking pastor. My mom, the hard-working nurturer. I grew up knowing that loving God meant walking like Jesus in a life yielded to the Father. Even as a young girl, I spent many days and nights pondering on my heart position relating to this. What is the greatest treasure of my life? Do my desires align with what I believe God values? Am I what God values? How could I get Him to value me more? Does He ever look my way?… the more these questions ached in me, the more fascinated I grew with the reality of God.

I committed my life to Jesus at the age of 12, and with an overwhelming conviction for righteousness. I had just gotten home from a week-long tour through the Garden Route with the Grade 7 class of 2006. Hours before our ‘fancy’ dinner, on the penultimate tour night, I got word that another girl was wearing the same jacket as me. It was no big deal until my peers insisted I do something about it. So, against everything I believed, I plucked up the arrogance to go over there to express my dissatisfaction as politely as “I think you should take the jacket off; I look better in it, anyway” could sound. I knew she was heartbroken, and I knew I was heartbroken too. Even at 12 years old, the situation called me into deep reflection. Staring me dead in the face was—perhaps in words less elaborate, but certainly as poignant—the exhortation from Deuteronomy 30:19: “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.” (ESV.)

The same night I got home, I knelt beside my bed and called out to God in a plea to choose life. I had a real sense that I was standing at a crossroads and my decision, for either life or death, would determine my destiny; and it did. The exhortation from Deuteronomy 30 continues in verse 20 to say, “that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers.”

To choose life is to enter in to a love-covenant with God, and to be in covenant with Him is to know the constant drawing to submission before Him. It’s not even work; it’s love. This has marked my life, healed my aches and continues to answer my many questions.

As I reflect on what has been and what has come to be, I see that God will come where He is most desired and share His redemptive story there. It has been wonderful to find God in spaces my ignorance would never give chance to. Spaces like quiet cathedrals, noisy braais and beach-side conversations. There has to come that monumental moment where we throw aside every crutch that stood to aid our devotion to God, and dare to stand before Him in the rawness of all of what we are not. There are no traditions or denominational structures we can take there. The bedrock of this close interaction is that God loved us first and has given us a lifeline in our love as a response. This lifeline is more than just life for us, but a source of life for everyone else around us. And in this love-covenant we are compelled to love our neighbours, to lay down our self-affirming comforts so others may see and enjoy the access to God’s throne of grace, just as we have. Or, at the very least, benefit from our choice.

The journey continues, and every day is a new opportunity to walk with God and choose life. This life is revealed through the testimony of Jesus; and what a thrilling, restorative adventure.

Re-published from: https://realisingpeace.home.blog

Mégan Schilder loves Jesus and people, and telling people about Jesus, and learning Jesus from people. She also really likes smoothies.