Have you ever found yourself – by the prompting of the Holy Spirit – praying for something which seems downright crazy? I have, and I’m guessing I’m not alone here.
A few years ago, I constantly battled with doubt over my salvation. If I’m really honest, I don’t think I actually believed God – who is so Holy and lovely – could ever truly forgive and love someone like me.
I remember reading Romans 5:3-4 “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation”. My heart was stirred by this scripture. I couldn’t live in doubt anymore. I found myself crying out to God for a trial, so that I could finally live in confident hope. As my soul settled and I finished praying, I realised what I had prayed for and pensively wondered if a trial would come.
A few short weeks later, someone very close to me asked me to sit down and talk with them about something important. Uh-oh! This is never really a good sign…
As the words began pouring out, my world began to shatter. So much of what I knew to be true about my life, now seemed to be part of a big lie. I was betrayed. This person who I loved, was incredibly damaged and broken from trauma. They had made poor decisions over the course of their life which affected me. As a result, not only were they suffering, but my heart was pierced. I sat in bed that evening uncontrollably sobbing and feeling hurt and confused, and this was when I heard the small quiet voice of the Lord say to me; “You can move on, It’s over now”.
I turned my heavy heart towards heaven and I decided in this moment I would trust God. I had seen the beautiful fruit flourishing in this person’s life and I knew without a doubt they had changed. Amongst the betrayal and hurt, I could not help but thank God for His transforming power in this person’s life. I had a hope for my future because God is a miracle worker and in the business of saving and transforming souls.
The more I praised, wept, and adored God through my suffering, the closer to Him I felt. I realised I was His. He had me in His loving embrace, His beloved child. I had never felt more loved in my life – in the midst of my suffering, the Lord came so tangibly close to me. I knew His heart was breaking for my pain, but as I fell asleep that night, I knew for the first time in my life that I possessed my ‘confident hope of salvation’.
I sometimes wonder at this event in my life. How can it be possible to have the best and worst day all at once? The hope and gratitude born that evening utterly overpowers the betrayal and hurt. I look back at that night and I am truly grateful to for God answering my crazy prayer. I’m not thankful for the sin, which caused immeasurable pain, but for God’s intentional response to it.
Through this trial I was able to grow and thrive in my faith in such a profound way. Maybe growth like this would not have occurred in my life without my suffering? In this moment when I was at my weakest and called out to my Heavenly Father “Who have I in heaven but you!?”, the Lord reassured me that I am His and He is mine. I could never have any other perspective but thanksgiving and praise for all He has done.
The next time you see a Sister in the Lord and admire her faith, her ministry, her family, life, and her heart for heavenly things – remember that it is often through suffering that she has become the mighty woman of faith that she is. All glory to God who is able to take our suffering and use it in a way which powerfully transforms our lives and leads to us experiencing unshakeable faith and hope in Jesus.