A common misconception about God is that He harms us, wrongs us, takes something or even someone away from us; that He is careless with His actions when it comes to us. Too often when bad things happen, people think 'Why did God allow this to happen?" They get angry and begin to see God as capable of destruction. But that's not the God that I know, because that is not God. It's actually the opposite. God gave His son to be sacrificed for our sins so that we can have a relationship with Him. But he also gave us free will. And we all know that free will can be a beautiful thing, however it gives room for the enemy to creep into our lives. The enemy that only comes to harm and steal from us. The enemy who is the creator of destruction, and whose sole purpose is to destroy us. Trust me when I say this... I know the enemy all to well.
Last summer, sitting in my inpatient hospital room, struggling to get the fork from my plate to my mouth just to be able to feed myself, I began to sob. I was angry, angry at myself, angry at everyone around me, angry with the universe and angry with God. I remember I shouted aloud to Him "Why did you save me? Why did you keep me here with this broken body? Why are you punishing me?" I had so much hurt and feelings of brokenness and hopelessness. God had saved me from death, but why. Why did I have to go on like this, a fraction of the person I was before. I didn't know it at the time, but those were words from the enemy. He was occupying my mind, laughing at my anger toward God. That's when I heard God say to me "I am not punishing you, I am rewarding you." What? "Please God, how is this broken body a reward?" I asked. I did not understand what my reward was or why I was being rewarded after what I had done. How was I even worthy of a reward? But see, that's what is so great about God and His mercy on us. Despite what I had done, and the sins of my past He loves me enough to forgive me and reward me for what He knows will glorify Him. In that instant, my bitterness turned into thankfulness, my sadness turned to joy, and every ounce of my trust was placed in Him. He is listening to me as I create my relationship with Him. He is turning my mess of a life into a masterpiece for His glory; and I know that this is my reward.
Even though I have placed my faith in God, I am human and sometimes I look around and wish my life had gone differently. I see all the things that I feel like I'm missing out on, and naturally I get upset. Depression, anxiety, resentment, disappointment and discouragement don't elude my thoughts; the enemy fights hard to keep them there. But I've come to realize this: the mind is powerful. We have the ability to change our outlook on life with just a single thought. One single thought that if turned into an action can change your life in an instant - and this is why when a negative thought crosses my mind, I replace it with a positive one. Instead of comparing my life and myself to who I used to be or to others around me, I am just striving to be a better me. When faced with a challenge or a situation, I will choose joy. I have made a promise to myself to always seek the good in everything.
I'm beginning to understand that sometimes the bad moments we have, or the rough patches of life that we go through are just God's way of getting our attention. He sees us. He knows us by name. He knows our future and the path He's trying to lead us on. In those moments of weakness when the enemy attacks, we have to remember this about our God and be thankful for all of the blessing we have. See, whether or not you believe in Him, He believes in you. He hears, sees, feels and knows everything about you. He knows everything that you need and everything that you could ever want. He's good in that way that He places opportunities, situations and people in our lives when we least expect it, but when we need it most. We just have to open our eyes and our hearts to see it, and know it's His gift to us and run with it. We should worship Him always because if you think about it, it's the greatest thing we can do to glorify His presence and all that He does for us. We have been chosen, not forsaken. As we say every Sunday in church, "I'm not perfect, but I serve the one who is."