“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
I grew up attending church on Sundays and religious education classes to learn more about the Catholic faith. I participated in First Communion and Confirmation. By the time I reached late-high school and college, my attendance at Sunday mass became very inconsistent. Eventually, after getting married and having my first child, church seemed a nuisance rather than something I looked forward to attending. Throughout this time, both in church and when we stopped going, I considered myself a Christian simply because I believed in God.
I remember getting frustrated when I felt a message suggested there was more to being a Christian than a belief. I certainly wasn’t aethist; I knew God existed, and I knew Jesus died on the cross. At this point, though, I didn’t understand at all the importance of a relationship with Christ. I didn’t understand I needed God. For me, the moment He revealed to me how much I needed Him, my life changed.
One thing is certain. Accepting Jesus as my Savior – fully accepting Him and inviting Him into my daily life – has not made my life any easier. I reached my lowest point on March 26, 2014 when I received a call from my OB about my daughter’s health. On that day, I fell to my knees in surrender to Christ. God blessed me with a beautiful, healthy daughter and continues to bless me in so many ways in regards to Caitlin. Yet, I still have hard times in my life. Even though I walk with Him, I still struggle. After our move, I hit another low point. I struggled to understand why He would allow me to experience so much grief and pain when I believed I followed His call. Lately, I have been focusing more and more on writing. I spend time journaling and listening for His voice. I’ll go a few weeks and make really good progress both on writing, and then am thrown for a loop with a really bad day. On these bad days, I question why I am writing and trying to encourage others when my life seems like a mess. A pattern exists of ups and downs, and because I read Scripture I know this is temporary. It’s temporary while I’m here on earth, which means I will continue to have bad days and bad seasons even though I walk with God as long as He has me here.
Why? Is it worth it? Even I questioned this last night. If life with Christ is just as hard as life without Christ, is it worth it? A resounding YES. These trials – big and small – are testing the genuineness of my faith. Though I may have a doubt enter my mind every now and then, I know I can give it to God. I know I can lean on Him. I know I can receive strength through Him. I know I can receive peace through Him. With Christ, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. With Christ, though my path may seem dark right now as I take small steps of obedience with my writing toward an unknown destination, He continues to guide me with lamp posts along the way. With Christ, I know despite how bad my day seems to be, tomorrow is a new day and I am a new creation in Christ. My yesterday doesn’t follow me if I give it to God.
These trials and hardships, are going to be short-lived and are necessary to build my character. The result? Praise, glory, and honor to God for standing by me. Praise, glory, and honor to God for sending His only Son to die for my salvation. Praise, glory, and honor to God for peace, comfort, and strength.
As a Christian, I need God. I need Jesus. I need the Holy Spirit. Every single day, every single hour, every single minute. I am thankful for the trials I have endured, though incredibly difficult while going through them, for reminding me that in my weakness, God’s strength is made perfect. I pray I continue to praise, glorify, and honor God through the trials and hardships still to come, and that the genuineness of my faith can help others.
Sidenote: This post took a different direction than I intended. God is so good! Though it may not flow very well, I left it as it was because I want others to see where I felt God leading me after I started writing.