The other day I was speaking to a friend of mines who had recently given her life to Christ and had joined a local church. Typically, our conversations were pleasant; but this time around, they were not. Unfortunately, she had been going through a tough time in her life, having lost several members of her family. I know all too well about the pain, anger, sadness, confusion and frustration she’s enduring as I, too, have lost many family members simultaneously. So, her pain was all too real for me. Yet still, I encouraged her with the same words she had once given me, as well as I added in some scriptures and personal experiences that I’d learned throughout my own journey with grief, depression and heartache. “The most important thing to remember in tough times is to maintain your relationship with God,” I said. Sadly, her broken spirit lead her to say that she was angry with God and believed that taking a break from Him and from reading His word (the Bible) is the best thing for her life. #BIGMISTAKE!
Having been through it all myself, I totally understood part of her plight. When I went through my own stages of grief, quite often I felt angry. However, I never once gave up on God, nor did I find myself putting down and escaping reading His word. No matter how depressed I felt, how much darkness surrounded me, I continued to read the Bible every day and prayed often to God because something inside of me knew I had no other choice. I was failing at attempting to overcome grief on my own, and I needed answers to the many questions I had. Plus, I desperately needed relief from all of the pain I was in.
Fortunately, I knew the only place I could get them was from the Creator himself. So, by reading His word, writing down my feelings and by praying, I sought out to understand why bad things happened to me, why good people were taken away from my life (via death) and how I was going to go on living without them. Never did I think that the answers would come if I was away from God. So, when my friend said she was giving up on God, I knew that this type of thinking was a big mistake. Her problems were not going to go away just by abandoning her faith walk with God.
Many times when we are going through tragedies or tough times, the easiest thing to do is to give up hope. As I instructed her, this is all a tactic of the enemy, Satan. He wants us to believe that God has somehow abandoned us when tragedies of any kind strike our homes, health, careers, or our families. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my life is that during those tough times, when my heart is broken, when I’m stressed out and don’t know what to do, that’s when I have to press harder into the relationship I’ve developed with God. I know I can’t do this thing called life on my own, so I don’t even bother trying. Through the purposely cultivated relationship I adhered to every day during those tough times in my faith walk with God, I’ve become a stronger believer. I’ve learned how to: “Faith it until I make it!!”
Just as the above scripture says, in this life we will all deal with many trials; however, the Good News is that Jesus Christ paid it all. We can now have peace in God knowing that our troubles won’t last always. Though anyone can have this beautiful peace that resides in Christ, one must understand that in order to achieve it, one must begin to establish, nurture and grow a personal relationship with God each and every single day. A relationship with The Father God is the most important relationship we can acquire. It requires:
- Implantation into our hearts,
- Daily cultivation in our lives,
- Stimulation of our minds (by reading His word),
- Admiration of His magnificent power, favor, grace and love,
- Faithfulness (aka loyalty) to staying connected to Him every step of the way.
Even when we can’t see God working, like a seed that’s planted, staying connected to Him is the key to witnessing the work that’s being done underneath.
Each one of our days are numbered and each of us have a purpose to fulfill in this life. Just as the seasons change, the only time our purpose is fulfilled is when our time is up on this earth. Until then, we have to work, just as diligently as we do towards our dreams, goals and loving one another, in maintaining our faith walk with God.
Along with the many things I pointed out to my friend, I posed these five (5) thought provoking questions to her. They came out rather bluntly than I had anticipated; yet still, the message was clear and I believe my point was made.
- Would you break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse because things aren’t going your way in life?
- Would you stop talking to your friends or significant other just because someone died?
- Were you able to stop the troubles in the world from happening before you became saved?
- Do you have the physical or supernatural strength and capability to stop cancer or to put a stop to death altogether?
- Since the answer is obviously no, then why would you give up on God just because things aren’t going your way?
We all need to think about these questions before we decide to give up hope. Throwing in the towel is not the answer and has never resolved anything. Quitting or distancing ourselves from God has never brought anybody true inner peace, hope, happiness, nor joy. Contrary to popular belief, all the money in the world cannot bring about these things neither. There are tons of people all over the world who have riches and are still unhappy, facing the same illnesses, tragedies, stressful situations and drama that the poorest people are facing. There are many rich celebrities who have ended their lives via suicide or drug overdose all because they lacked inner peace, pure joy and real happiness. So why give up hope and call it quits on God, who’s the only one that can provide all these things, just because problems or tragedies have come your way?
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28 NLT)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)
Every time I’ve went through tough times, storms, tests and trials including my most darkest years (2014-2016), the only thing that kept me going was reading the word of God. Even when I was at my ultimate lowest point during those depressing, grief-stricken years and I attempted suicide, the grace of God allowed me to survive. The next day I woke up and turned right back to reading my Bible. I was determined more than ever to find out why I had lived and not died, as well as what my purpose was in life. I didn’t have much faith for darkness had consumed me; however, I had enough faith, the size of a mustard seed, to pray, worship God, cry out to Him in pain with everything I’d been going through and to continue reading His word daily until I received my answers. I knew that He was the key to solving all my problems and to bringing me out of that dark headspace I was in.
From my own experience, I understand that grief can be a heavy burden to bare. Even stress can overwhelm the body and take out the healthiest person through a heart attack or stroke. Storms are destructive and trials, turmoils, and tribulations can feel devastating. Yet still, through it all, knowing that there’s people in the world, like the ancestors written in the Bible and those whose stories are shared through folklore, that have been through the exact same things we’re going through today gives us hope. Their stories of how they encountered hardships and how their faith and determination to carry on in-spite of all odds should propel us all to keep moving forward, trusting and believing (aka having faith) in God for better days. That’s the point in the Bible and folklore: to share people’s testimonies in order to encourage and give hope to those in need.
“And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.” (Revelation 12:11 NLT)
So, today I leave you with the same advice I told my friend. It’s the same advice I give myself every day as I go through my own health concerns and struggles in life.
“Don’t lose hope! Have faith that things will get better and that everything will work itself out. God did not bring you this far to leave you now. Pray about everything you’re going through, read His word for encouragement (starting with the book of Job) and patiently wait on The Lord to provide answers and clear direction. You have all you need to survive. This pain that you’re feeling will not be the death of you. One day, you’ll wake up and find that what once hurt you, doesn’t hurt you anymore. Keep hope alive. Faith it until you make it!”
Sincerely with love,
(Follow on Instagram: @AndreaGees)
Travel photography by IG user: @christofs70