Even though I did not grow up as a black man in an urban setting, and even though I did not grow up with a huge hole left because of an absent parent, the years he spent as a lost soul desperately trying to fill the God-shaped hole inside is something I can completely relate to.
Before Jesus came into my heart and filled me with the Holy Spirit, I was trying to fill that empty space with many things that hurt more than they helped. All the bad choices I made in my teens and early 20's are a testament to how lost and hurting I was. Later on, I may not have been making all the same bad choices, but my life was definitely a reflection of how little I thought of my worth as I struggled through one hopeless day after another. I may have prayed to God for relief during those years- more like desperate pleas to save me- but those were the ONLY conversations I had with Him. I didn't thank Him for ANYTHING and I certainly didn't pray for others. My "relationship" with God consisted of me begging him for things and nothing more. It's no wonder I thought He was ignoring me.
Lecrae talks about when he first realized the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. Like me, he knew the story of Jesus' crucifixion- the surface level story of Him being hung on a cross and raised on the third day. And like me, he really didn't give it much thought and certainly didn't relate it to his own life in any way. When he was finally hit with the magnitude of what this Man did for him- he found himself on his knees begging God for forgiveness.
Of course the road he took to salvation was muddy and fraught with wrong turns and detours- but whose isn't, really? For all Christians there are varying degrees of disobedience- but God doesn't see the degrees. God only sees that we are all fallen.
"For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23To God, sin is sin. You may think your sin is lesser than someone else's sin, but, while it is true that all sin is not equal in regard to the punishment deserved for it, all sin separates us from God: "...for the wages of sin is death" Romans 6:23.
The good news is that no matter what your sin- Jesus has made a way for each and every one of us sinners to overcome our sin and find our place in Heaven at the end of our lives.
"My God, my God, why have You forsaken me Why are You so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?" Psalm 22:1Jesus said the words above while he hung on the cross so that you and I may NEVER have to say them! He suffered rejection and abandonment and endured unspeakable pain and torture- all of which we deserve as sinners separated from God, and he did these things for us in order to secure a place for us in the eternal embrace of our heavenly Father. He bought you and he bought me for a price! A price that we can never repay. All He asks in return is that we love Him and accept this gift completely by repenting of our sins and trusting Him to be in charge each and every day.
If you are living in a world between believing and not-believing, I encourage you to check out this book. You can get it here or here or check out your local library.