I made a commitment to live the Christian life as a believer of Jesus Christ at fourteen but have to say I knew the presence of God long before that. Through childhood trauma God met me in the thin places, the suffering moments, the fearful dark of broken humanity. By the time I was fourteen, I had little will to live and it was Jesus or suicide, so I thought I would give Jesus a try.
Wow, I never looked back. The Holy One met me.
With becoming a believer of Jesus Christ at that age and never turning back, there develops over time a sense of entitlement, a sense of pride in one's right living, or righteousness. I personally believed if I served God, then He would serve me the good things in life. Health, wealth, and success was my right. Why did I believe this? Because I had a pride. I believed that my right living demanded that God give only what the world would consider good gifts. I hand-picked many Scriptures (a lot out of context) to substantiate my wanna-be belief. I skipped over verses like Job 2:10 "Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?"
Then sorrow hit. My husband left his belief in Jesus Christ, my children floundered in their faith. Yes, I did have wealth and health and then it was taken from me. My daughter suffered with ADHD, and my body writhed in pain for five years without diagnosis. Our wealth was stripped down to almost nothing, my husband chose to be unfaithful. This beautiful image of a family I worked so hard to build crumbled at my feet. Our reputation was smeared in the mud of gossip. My world disintegrated around me and I was angry with the Holy One I served. I asked for bread and He gave me a stone. I had loved and served Him and what did I get in return—pain and lots of it.
But through the crucible of suffering I learned what I never would have grasp otherwise. I was broken, bruised, once again craving death and I learned a truth now carved in the flesh of my scarred broken heart. When the Bible says that God will never leave nor forsake his children, it is truth. (Heb. 13:5) God met me in a supernatural way. I now fear nothing, for I truly know He will ever be my source of strength.
What a revelation to let God be sovereign, and to learn to trust Him in the suffering. What freedom to no longer tell God how my life should go, but accept whatever He deems necessary. How proud I was to think I could write my own story, be the god of my universe by telling the Holy One what and how to orchestrate my future.
Mother Teresa said, "Let Him (God) do with me whatever He wants as He wants for as long as He wants if my darkness is light to some soul."1 I now see how He wanted to use my less than perfect life to speak into the lives of others. The pain has purpose.
Joy is no longer based on happiness, or happy situations, joy is present every day of every year. Peace is no longer dependent on everyone liking me or agreeing with me. Peace flows from the Holy One and has depth far beyond the struggles of this life.
I finally understand Is. 64:6 My righteousness is like a filthy rag. I am a sinner. I am redeemed through Jesus. I am in need every day of the Holy One. And I thank God for the suffering because it has opened my soul to this amazing truth … Ann Voskamp says it beautifully in her book The Broken Way. "Brokenness happens in a soul so the power of God can happen in a soul."2
If not on this side of heaven, but surely on the other side "all" humanity will acknowledge the Holy One.
So, let's rejoice in the Holy One. Let's use our suffering to encourage another. Let's not judge our brother or sister. Let us come humbly before the Holy One today and every day. Let us bend our knees to the awesome, all-encompassing Holy One so that we can live life to the fullest.
Listen to this amazing song called "Holy One" by New Hope Oahu music. The setting and the Hawaiian Dance is so beautiful.
1 Mother Teresa, Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta, ed. Brian Kolodiejchuk (New York: Doubleday, 2007) 212
2Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way, (Zondervan, 2016) 20
All Scripture taken from the NKJV