And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?…
You’ve heard these lyrics before, right? They are so encouraging, and come from an amazing song. They serve as a reminder, right? Well, sometimes it feels like a lot can be against you. I get it, I’ve been there. Sometimes it feels like you’re truly on your own. Some of you may laugh at those lyrics. Nobody has ever been there for you. Nobody has gotten you through but yourself. God can’t exist if He let you go through such things. God can’t exist in a world like ours.
Most people have experienced what life has to offer at one point or another. But you, you and me? We’re a different kind of person. That’s not a bad thing. We just do life differently. Life nowadays doesn’t always hold the same luster as it does for others. You spend a lot of time in your head. You don’t live in the past, but the past is a huge part of who you are. It takes awhile for someone to get to know the real you. There are reasons for that. It would most likely be very overwhelming if you were to share every event that has shaped you into who you are. Life has never been easy for you. You’ve experienced the harsher side of reality, of life. You also know when to appreciate the good things because you know they don’t always come around. You know what it is to mourn. Whether you’ve experienced a death in the family, the death of a friend, someone committing suicide, the diagnosis of a disease, or parents’ divorce. That all involves loss, and you’ve felt the sting of it.
With people our age, sometimes you feel a little out of your element. You certainly don’t necessarily fit the “young person” stereotype. I’m right there with you, my friend. It’s hard for people to relate to you, especially if they haven’t gone through what you have. I’m with you. I struggle with the same things as you. I have two chronic diseases, my parents are divorced, my twin sister and I are adopted, my grandparents have passed away, and so many other things that I don’t need to mention.
We’re all a little different. We’ve all been through stuff. But to the young person who knows what life can throw at them, you are a unique breed. When someone tells you, “Well, you’re young, you wouldn’t know,” and you can honestly say that actually, you do know? I’m sorry for the struggle you’ve been through. Our world is a fallen world. Maybe you’ve given up on faith, which is understandable. Maybe you’ve resigned yourself to accepting that your life is always going to be unfair. Maybe you have developed a grim determination to keep moving forward no matter what. Maybe you even think you’re doing just fine on your own.You just know that some of your fun-loving spirit has been dimmed by this world.
I know precisely what has gotten me through my hard times. Jesus has gotten me through. And some of you are already hitting that “X” on the top of your computer screen. Hold on. Don’t leave just yet. I don’t pretend to have worse experiences than anybody else. I know there are those who have much worse experiences than me in their past. But, I also know, I feel the difference in my attitude towards life every day. My faith has never been perfect, nor will it ever be. I’ve struggled with unanswered questions. I’ve struggled with those pestering “Why?” questions. And, I’ve asked, “How in the world am I still in one piece?”
That’s the thing. The world hasn’t done anything for me. It certainly hasn’t kept me in one piece. By all accounts of the world, I’ve had a hard go of things. It has made me question my faith in Jesus. However, on the flip side, you know what my faith has enabled me to do? It has enabled me to embrace my struggles. It has allowed me to learn from them in a constructive way. It hasn’t always been constructive, unfortunately. The kingdom of darkness has had its way with me more than once, messing with my thoughts, convincing me of something that just wasn’t true. But, I have good news for you, my friend. A grim determination is not the way to get through life. That is way too much pressure to put on yourself. We are able to succeed in this life, if we’re going by the worldly definition, but that is an empty success without Christ in your life. It means nothing. My success has been in overcoming this world’s “lemons” through Christ. After all, He has already defeated struggle and death. Why should you go through life and struggle to win when Jesus did that centuries ago? Aren’t you tired of fighting by yourself? Aren’t you tired of having no say over what life throws at you? Aren’t you tired of feeling beat down all the time?
Run to Jesus. He is waiting to take the burden from you. He is waiting for you to relinquish your need to have control over your life. He is waiting for you to admit that you are going about things the wrong way. He is waiting for you to take the freedom He offers from the weight of this world. God exists. He is waiting for you to become a beacon of light to those who are still struggling, who see no way out. Jesus reveals Himself in so many ways every day. Granted, there are days where I don’t see it. There have been days where I questioned the very existence of a God who could possibly let hurtful, awful things happen to such a young person. But, listen, God loves you. He feels your very pain. He hurts with you. He wants you to relinquish that pain to Him. He wants you to get off the throne of your own life and let Him sit in its place. I speak from experience, my God is the one who has kept me afloat all these years. He has blessed me in ways I can’t even explain. I’ve seen Him work miracles in situations of people around me. He has enabled me to keep my joy. He has enabled me to see the miracle in everyday life. Embrace hope. Embrace the struggle so that you can know what God is capable of, so that you can feel the difference in your life. You are young. You have your whole life ahead of you. Fill it with Jesus.
“‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.'”
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.”
-1 Peter 3:18
“If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.”
-1 Peter 4:15-
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”