Can we talk about storms. Storms are rough, messy, scary, unpredictable, and loud. I have never been in a terrible storm. I have experienced the occasional downpour with lightning, but for the sake of this illustration let’s compare the word “storm” to a natural disaster type of storm. I’m talking like hurricane Katrina Level. Why are we using the word ”storm” to this level? Because in life, a downpour with lightning can not equally compare to the intensity of a natural disaster. In the moment, hardships, loss, and tragedies seem more like natural disasters than a rain storm.
Now that we have the correct illustration of the word ”storm”, let’s talk about life and how change, tragedy, or loss produces hardship that can we beneficial. People can be unpredictable. Anything can happen at any given moment. Things can happen in a heartbeat. Life is like sand. Things are always shifting. As Christians we have an unwavering hope. The Rock on which we stand. Our Rock is Jesus.
In these last 8 years on my life, I have experienced a lot of loss and heartache. To give you a little idea of how much pain my heart has gone through, let me give you a brief overview. And please note, this is not for self pity but it is a testimony of how God’s grace and love can heal a broken heart and continue to give endless hope. So to start off, I lost my family as a whole. Divorce and financial hardship took a toll on us like never before. I grew up in a home and to have that taken away was shattering for me. I lost my dreams of a future that had anything to do with sustainability or success. My friends looked at my family like we no longer exsisted. I didn’t bother reaching out due to shame. I also didn’t reach out because of how emotionally exhausting it was; constantly having to explain your worst living nightmare to people over and over again. My grandma got sick. She was my literally my BFF. I moved three times in two years. I became distant to my parents because they were dealing with the realities of our situation. We all starting working. We didn’t have ample time to really process or plan for all that had happened to us. I was desperate for love in these times of brokenness.
In high school, my journey with God was complicated. I didn’t know anything about God freshman year, so I started going to campfires where people sang worship songs and made cheeseburgers . I enjoyed the kind people and the music. Sophomore year my curiosity began to grow, so I decided to join a small group. I listened to how the leaders talked about God’s love, read their bibles, and said prayers for each other. I loved the community of people and how encouraging they were. At home, I was never fully taught the Bible. I just went to a Catholic church on occasion growing up, and I was baptized as a baby. I always new God existed but I knew there was more. More love and more of God that I hadn’t fully experienced or understood yet.
Junior and early senior year I decided that I fully believed in Jesus. There was just one problem. I didn’t fully deny myself and give up my whole life for him. I didn’t understand that I needed Him every moment of everyday. I wasn’t a new creation. I wasn’t pursing the things of God. Until one day in the middle of senior year, I told God that I had it with my way of life. I told God that I’m done with my way and I want everything to do with His way. I ditched friends, colleges plans, parties, and I even threw away my art that I had been working on all of high school. It’s seems like a lot, but I was just done. I said, “God all this means nothing.” I made a statement and my statement was that I just wanted Jesus. I wanted Gods way for my life. I wanted His plan for my life.
After praying these things on a Saturday, on Monday a random kid that I never talked to, walked up to me and said, ”Jesus loves you.” My eyes were watering. Long story short, he introduced me to another person who I met at a college service. This guy ended up talking with me for 3 1/2 hours after the service answering all the questions I had. We ended up praying and I had an encounter with God that I will never forget. Gods love changed my life forever. That same love is still in my heart and it’s His love that creates a massive hope for every area of my life.
When I begin to think about how much God loves me, I am filled with hope for my future.
I understand that my future is in His hands. So next time a storm rushes in your life, think about God’s love for you. These are the “in between” moments that are purposed to grow and stretch us for long term endurance. God has a reason for the pain and suffering. Right now we may not understand how it will benefit us, but it’s doing something important. Hardships enable us to look to God for guidance and support. Hardships teach us and grow us. When we are journeying through the promise land it will be uncomfortable at times, but the end result is worth it. Jesus fights for us. Jesus cares for us. God’s love for us gives us the confidence we need for the hard seasons in our life.
A helpful song to listen to in a hard season, that has helped me, is “Glimmer of Hope” by Hillsong Worship.
I hope that this post/small testimony was an encouragement to you.
Grace and Peace.