For He Himself has said: "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
I watched a video this week about a young lady who had been hooked on alcohol and drugs. As a child, after her parents’ divorce, her mother remarried and immediately she was faced with physical abuse from her stepfather. This led her to a world of alcoholism as a teenager which helped take away the fear. Unfortunately, on the inside she battled with feelings of rejection. During this ordeal, her aunt encouraged her by letting her know that Jesus was always with her even while she was going through what she was going through and in spite of the bad choices she was making. So, as she faced abuse at home and got hooked on alcohol, she constantly reminded herself that Jesus was with her and would not abandon her. She literally felt as if she had Jesus in her pocket giving her the strength to go on.
This part of her story brings to mind the fact that even while we are going through Jesus is right there. Here’s the thing – His presence does not necessarily mean that the problem will automatically and immediately go away. But, His presence provides the strength we need as we go through. Her problems did not go away just like that. In fact, they remained but her comfort came in knowing that God had not left her. We too, sometimes have to comfort ourselves with the reality that as we go through, for however long we have to go through, God will provide the strength and even at times peace we need to make it.
For fourteen years she battled with alcohol and for two years with drug addiction. She hit rock bottom and couldn’t seem to climb her way out. She continued to make a series of bad choices and it wasn’t until she found herself briefly in jail after a hit and run and ended up in rehab that she started to feel a sense of hope. She was finally ready to surrender and admitted to God that she didn’t know how to stop her cravings but asked for His help. He showed up and broke the chains off her life.
We can so easily take a simple prayer for granted. From her heart she simply asked God for His help and He answered. She knew she was delivered. Yet, she admits that the cravings did not go away immediately. It was a process she had to work through trusting God that He was there helping her.
I love her honesty. She didn’t say that the desires for the drugs and alcohol left immediately, she admitted they were still there. Sometimes, like this young woman, we just have to trust that God has answered even if some of the symptoms are still there. We have to trust that we are delivered, even though we are still experiencing desires and cravings. This is where I am reminded of the apostle Paul’s testimony about his thorn in the flesh. He prayed three times about it, but God chose not to take it away. Instead He told him that His grace was sufficient for Him (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). That’s not exactly the answer we want to hear many times. This young woman I am sure would have preferred these wrong desires and cravings to just disappear, but they didn’t. Like Paul, she too had to rely on the grace of God each day to get her through the day.
We too sometimes have to depend on God’s grace. It’s not that God is not seeing what we are going through, it’s not that He is not hearing our cries of desperation and frustration. I think sometimes that even in what He allows, there are lessons He would have us to learn. Paul’s thorn probably kept him humble (2 Corinthians 12:7). This young woman’s desires probably kept her depending on God in a way that pleased Him because for so long she had been depending on alcohol and drugs to help her survive.
In my own life, there were many times when I wanted God to just take away the temptation, take away the stress or hurt or pain, take away the struggle. Believe me, there were times when He did but there were times when He didn’t. In retrospect, I can now look back on all those times when He didn’t answer the way I wanted and I see that in spite of it all, I am still standing, I am still serving Him, I am stronger, wiser, a whole lot more dependent on Him. This would not have been the case if every problem in my life He had taken away immediately. Some things I just had to ride through as He used those things to mold me into the person He wants me to be and ultimately use those same experiences to help me minister to others.
God always sees what we don’t and what we can’t. What He allows will always be for our good. He knows how to give beauty for ashes, how to take the negative and create something beautiful out of it. He may choose to answer immediately or allow us to go through a process. Either way, we can be confident that He is working and He is bringing good out of every situation we may go through.
If you have not invited Jesus Christ into your life to be your Lord and Saviour, I encourage you to do so now. We can’t always avoid or even run from the trials of life but with God by our side we can face and overcome anything!
This blog provides inspirational nuggets inspired by the Word of God and serves to encourage and motivate Christians in their Christian walk.