I’ve always believed in God. But it wasn’t until I was a teenager that I discovered that God wasn’t distant. Far from it - He is personal. I could have a relationship with him. How amazing it was that I could call the creator of the universe my Father. His love for us was so great that he sent his son down to die for us - to take the punishment that we deserve for all the wrong things we do (John 3:16).
But if you asked me what ‘life to the full’ meant this time last year, I would have SAID that it meant having a relationship with God, knowing his love and presence now, and knowing the eternal joy that will bring. I still believe this to be true. However throughout my life and during first year of university, I was very happy with my life: I had some wonderful friends, a loving family, a caring church, and I was enjoying being a fresher at university.
Second year of university, however, has been a bit more of a rocky road - my health, physically, has not been ‘tip top’, and that has challenged me mentally. For a short(ish) period of time I couldn’t really do much. I had to temporarily step down from the commitments that I loved doing. And that was a big challenge in terms of motivation. I had felt so happy with my life, but then it got hard.
But going through this has made me more aware of how life to the full really wasn’t experienced through success in exams, my degree or having a ‘happy’ life, but through Jesus - he gives us life to the full(John 10:10). Through the ‘easier’ and the harder times, Jesus really is with me every step of the way (Matthew 11:28-30). Nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:28-29). While that doesn’t guarantee that I will find the time on this earth easy, I can have the joy and certain hope of knowing that through Jesus, I can have eternal life and be with my Father for ever. I can live now, with Jesus, knowing that I will always live with him and that I will get to join him in a place where there will be no more tears, or suffering, or pain (Revelation 21:4), but joy.