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You can never be too far from God

Added on Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Written by Lieutenant Grant Holloway, Brainerd Salvation Army pastor and administrator

Earlier this summer, I had the amazing privilege of working with 100 kids at The Salvation Army’s Northwoods Camp in Finlayson, Minn.

Boy playing the tromboneThis particular week was music camp, where kids had the opportunity to learn to use a variety of musical instruments. After a week of exploring through music, the staff shared the Gospel message through drama called “Jesus Theater: Under Construction.” (What is the Gospel message?) Campers were given an opportunity to hear how Jesus can be their savior from sin.

During the drama, there were two scenes that really spoke to me. The first focused on God giving humanity all that they needed to succeed here on Earth. The second showed Satan deceiving humanity by finding ways to keep them from using the gifts God has given them. The story concludes when God sends His son to Earth and allows him to die on a cross, so that we can regain what was lost through Satan’s deception.

My Personal Journey to Christ

This image of Satan tempting us to be just far enough from God that we could see His promises, but never claim them, really struck me. I recalled the feeling I had as I entered college: that I was too far from God to be forgiven and too far away to receive His grace. I knew it was there, but I felt that it was just out of reach. It wasn’t until I went to a church on campus and listened to a speaker share their testimony that I realized I wasn’t too far away from God. In that moment, I accepted Christ as the savior of my life and it was the first time that I felt truly free.

As I started to read the Bible, I began to see this beautiful pattern. It was filled with people who society had said were too far away from God because of their sin, their problems, their status, their diseases, their ethnicity, or their culture. Yet, God used each and every one of them for great purposes. As we read through the New Testament, Jesus invites these same individuals into the Kingdom of Heaven. He reassures them that they are not too far away and that God’s forgiveness and grace is for anyone who simply asks for it.

You are Loved by God

Woman lifting her hands in worshipMaybe you’re reading this and thinking “I am too far away. God could never forgive me.” I have news for you. He can and He will! Paul writes in Ephesians 3:17-18:

“And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of his love.”

There are no limits to what God can forgive and, because of that, it is never out of reach.

I know that there are people in our world who feel they have been pushed to far from knowing God’s forgiveness for the exact same reasons I once did. The moment that I was forgiven, it became my ambition to make sure everyone knows that they are welcomed into the family of God. God’s Kingdom is available to everyone.

I encourage you to share God’s forgiveness with the world that you encounter each and every day. The world needs to hear, see, and encounter Christ in their lives, We can do this each and every day that God gives us. God is there for you. No matter where you are or where you go, you are always known to him.

A Closing Song

I leave you for now with this: the kids at music camp learned a song from David Catherwood called “Known to You.” (Hear the song.) One of the lines from the song says, “…from the east to the west, from beginning to end, Lord you are there for me.”