Bethany Hamilton (Soul Surfer) had her faith tested one day while surfing. In a quick moment she was attacked by a shark that bit off her limb. She questioned how this accident could be God’s plan for her, for her to lose her arm. She just couldn’t understand despite questioning God numerous times in her head. Searching for answers and trying to get a better perspective, she remembered something her youth pastor shared before her accident. Here’s a clip from the movie.
There seems to be a perception that once you give your life over to God, that all these miracles will happen and all your problems will disappear.
As a teenager living in this fast-paced, revolving and upside down world, it is normal to want things that will make your life easier and happier. You may also think that if God loves you that much to not only create you, and save you, He would at least make things much more painless and smooth in your life as well.
Problems before and after salvation come in many ways. They can come from sin in our lives, generational issues passed down in the family, attacks from satan, and just every day complications and tragedies of life. You may not always know where it originated from, but more importantly, how are you going to deal with it?
You could sulk and complain that God isn’t fair, that He isn’t a loving God because all you are feeling lately is suffering. However, what you need to know is that God can use EVERY circumstance no matter how good or bad, or how big or small in your life and turn it around for your benefit and His glory. Now that IS a miracle!
I realize that many of you are going through some extreme, overwhelming, and tough situations that look like there are no answers. You may even question, “How in the world is God going to help me or use me through this?” Remember, there is nothing too difficult for God, a God who created the heavens and the earth and the whole universe. Luke 1:37 “For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Another thing to keep in mind is that God wants you to put your trust and faith in Him during those difficult times because that is when He can give you the strength and peace to get through them. By going at it on your own just to get through it, you will find yourself struggling even more. We cannot do things by our own strength.
In the New Testament, Paul talks about hardship and the struggles and torments he faced as a believer. He could have at any time walked away from God because of all that he had and was going through. But instead, he writes this –
“I have been in prison frequently, been flogged severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. …I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked…
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. …I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 11:23-12:10)
Paul understood well what it was like as a Christian to suffer but he also understood God’s infinite glory. Most of you will never be stoned or whipped. And I’m sure none of you will be shipwrecked. But the point is this – no matter what happens in your life, God continues to be faithful and waiting upon you to reach out to Him for His strength and help.
Even if you don’t receive the answer in your timing, or in the way you see fit, God’s ways are higher and His plans are perfect. One day they will all be revealed, whether on earth or in our heavenly home. But while you are waiting, God wants to minister to you through His Word and through prayer so that He can speak to you and guide you as you faithfully stay the course. He will even give you a new perspective through all of it.
So the next time you are going through a hardship, seek HIM and ask HIM to reassure you that He is with you and will not leave you in your time of need.