Several years ago I had someone ask me a question that still sticks with me today: Why is it that most people come to believe or trust in God after something bad happens?
At the time, I didn’t really know how to answer that question. I myself had surrendered my life to Christ when going through a rough spell, but this person seemed quite unsettled with the fact that each testimony she heard involved something negative. In a way, she hit the nail on the head. Think of your story. What lead you to Christ? Why did you ultimately decide to follow Him? Or what in your life right now is drawing you closer to Him?
If I’m being honest with myself, I noticed God more when life threw some curveballs at me. In those humbling moments, I realized that I don’t have it all together and there’s no way I can do this on my own. More importantly, I realized that I wasn’t created to walk through this life on my own. And I am so thankful for those challenges because they ultimately lead me to Christ.
God has a way of taking our brokenness and turning it into something beautiful. He did that with me 4 years ago, and He continues to do it now. I’m in awe of the way God can take some of the most horrifying and depressing experiences we endure and turn it into something that reveals His glory. As a Christian, I sometimes feel like I must have it all together or have to try to be the very best, but this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. Christ is most glorified in me when I have my weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Speaking of weaknesses, I hate crying. Absolutely hate it. Before my dad passed, I rarely ever cried. Also, I am terrible at being sad. I avoid sadness like the plague. I actually used to feel more anxious when I noticed I wasn’t as joyful as usual. Thus, I pretty much wasn’t a big fan of weaknesses. But through these past months, I’ve started to not only become more aware of my weaknesses and vulnerability, but also rejoice in them. When I’ve admitted I need help, God has faithfully filled that need in me (Psalm 30:2).
There is no way I would be where I am right now, full of life and joy after a devastating loss, if it weren’t for Christ. In Matthew 5, Jesus declares: “blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” You think chocolate, friends, or puppies are comforting? Try being comforted by the Creator of the world. I wish I could accurately describe the comfort God has provided, but there are no words that could ever give it justice. It’s one of those moments where, amidst the pain and grief, you know deep in your soul that all will be well.
Think that sounds great? Well, it gets even better because from that springs hope. I find hope in the trials I face, for I know good will arise from them. It’s not like the earthly hope, where we try to avoid struggles at all costs and measure how great life is by how easily it’s going; but the heavenly hope that God will be with me through it all. If the Lord is within me, then I know that I will be taken care of. Earthly hope sometimes leads to disappointment, but the hope from God never will.
Going back to the question from the beginning: yes, I’ve grown closer to Christ through my trials. Of course I seek God when life is running relatively smoothly, but I’ve learned so much more about Him through my struggles. A deeper intimacy with Christ is experienced when we lay our burdens and hurts before Him and let Him heal our hearts.
I know, going through rough circumstances is not fun and it’s certainly not easy. However, we weren’t promised an easy life the minute we accepted Christ. Don’t look at the trials we face as roadblocks, but instead as a means to grow with Christ. Yeah, it really really really sucks that my dad is gone, but the silver lining is that my relationship with Christ has never been stronger. And I know that my suffering is nothing compared to the glory that will eventually be revealed. The Lord proclaims: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).