The Solid Rock

Description

Placing your faith in Jesus can transform your life. Marian Jordan Ellis, from Redeemed Girl Ministries, shares her personal story of transformation.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold(Psalm 18:2).

All of my life, I longed for something solid—firm ground on which to stand. Yet, my life before Jesus felt like a ship tossed about on a stormy sea. My emotions, vacillating from giddy to grave, lurched up and down with the rise of hopeful expectations and the fall of crushing disappointments. Each day was a date with uncertainty. Would today be good or bad? Happy or sad? The answer was dependent upon the object of my hope—my job, my friends, my looks, my crush, my grades, my weight, my popularity, my achievements, my plans for the weekend….I did not know the meaning of real hope before I began a relationship with God through Jesus. I had yet to experience the confidence, security, peace and joy that one has when her life is built on Christ, the Solid Rock. 

Rewind. I must tell you a little of my history. From childhood through college, I was not a girl who hoped in God. Sure, I knew information about God. Growing up in a small Texas town, church attendance was an expected tradition. It seemed everyone I knew went on Sunday. Christianity was just facts… it wasn’t my faith. I knew about Jesus, I just didn’t know Jesus.  I sang the hymns, heard the stories, and could even quote a few Bible verses… but my hope for happiness, life, security, and completion was in everything the world had to offer. I was building my life on the wrong foundation.

As far back as I can recall, I fell for the facade of false hopes—the gilded promises seemed so believable. I remember going to middle school with the number one goal of “becoming popular.”  I thought, “If I’m popular then I will feel accepted,”  therefore, I was constantly conforming myself to the crowd and hoping in the approval of my peers to make me feel like I belonged. As a late teen, I believed the party-scene would bring me happiness. I began binge drinking in pursuit of the intoxicating high I hoped would provide me escape. As I grew older, I bought the lie that a hook up would make me feel loved. I gave myself away in hope that I would find the affection I craved.  Entering adulthood, I trusted in the promises of marketing companies that if I purchased their products, my life would be complete, so I charged up the credit cards, hoping the next shopping spree would rid me of my emptiness. 

The result? Big Let Downs followed by even Bigger Let Downs… I was a girl overspent, overworked, overused, and over-her-head in disappointment from chasing false hopes. I was sinking in disappointment. In the midst of one especially emotional storm, I cried out to God—nothing spectacular or poetic, just a simple prayer, “Help.” 

A few weeks later a friend invited me to visit her church.  Sure, I’d done the church thing as a kid, but this time it was different. Chalk it up to desperation or just great timing, but for the first time in my life, as I listened to the message, something clicked. 

Not rules. Not religion. Just Jesus.

I realized the Gospel is a message of hope: God became a man, entered our dark and desperate world, died in our place, defeated death, in order to give humanity HOPE.  Our Creator knows how desperately we need him to rescue us from our sin and our false hopes.

Before my eyes were opened to the true gospel, I thought God’s love was conditional upon my performance. I believed the lies...

If I’m a “good girl,” then God will love me.

If I “clean up my act,” then maybe he will forgive me.

If I “change my ways,” then Jesus will accept me.

I did the math and assumed God could/would never love a girl like me.  The problem with my logic was twofold:

1. Incredibly bad theology.

2. A classic example of misplaced hope. 

The Bible says Christ died because we are 100 percent hopeless without him. Each one of us is desperate for his grace—whether we see it or not.  Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of John 3:16 perfectly explains our situation.

"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him (Jesus) anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him (John 3:16-18, The Message).

Finally “getting it,” the gospel message proved a beacon of light pointing me to solid ground. Like a sailor lost at sea, I welcomed this sight. Due to my track record of rebellion and sin, I now understood that I didn’t have a shred of hope of pleasing a Holy God on my own. My only hope for acceptance was the free gift of salvation offered through faith in his Son, Jesus Christ.

Placing my faith in Jesus, my life was transformed from instability to confidence because of my relationship with him. This gospel message proved so powerful that the entire foundation of my existence changed by believing it. One of my favorite hymns says it best:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

When darkness seems to hide His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
 

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