The past few months have been some of the toughest of my entire life. In November, I lost the most amazing grandfather that I could've ever been given. I was extremely close with him, and being away at college when he took his last breath broke me. Throughout my whole life, he was with me for every birthday, holiday and big event, and now I had to learn to live without him there to experience everything with me.
It seemed like the worst pain imaginable. I had one person to rely on through it all though, and that was my boyfriend. He helped me pray to God, and he was there while I cried myself to sleep at night. But two months after I lost my grandfather, my boyfriend and I split, too, and I felt completely alone.
Since then, I have spent a lot of nights questioning what all of this means and reaching out to the only one that could put my troubles to rest: God. At first, I questioned everything that He had put me through. I wondered why God would give people to me for only a short while before taking them away again. I started to doubt His timing and His plan for me, although I knew deep down that both were perfectly and thoughtfully made. There even came a point when I questioned where God was during all of this chaos, because through it all, I had lost sight of Him, and therefore myself, as well. I felt like He had abandoned me, too.
I was in so much pain, and nothing I was doing seemed to make it go away. I prayed every night, asking God where He was and why He had put me through so much heartbreak in such a short amount of time. All I could think about were the negatives of my situation. My perspective on my situation changed when I watched the movie "God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness."
Throughout this movie, many characters questioned God as I had been but in the end came to realize that He was putting them through changed in their lives to build something new. I started to look at my situation in a new light and recognize that He was not putting me through these challenges to harm me but to strengthen me. He is preparing me for what is yet to come, and I should never doubt His timing. When I felt most alone, God was right there with me, walking by my side.
When I started to question Him, I reminded myself over and over again that God says to us, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze," (Isaiah 43:2).
Trust me when I say, though, that in the middle of all the pain, it is hard to remember these words that God said to us, let alone believe in them. It's hard to see God and understand His plan for us when things don't seem to be going right. But I found it comforting to know that Jesus too, on the cross, cried out to God, saying, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Psalms 22:1).
Jesus understands our pain, and He knows how it feels to be helpless and vulnerable, desperate for God's mercy. God is always with us, with His arms outstretched, and if we keep reaching out to Him, we will always find Him again.
I now know that with Him next to me, I can get through any challenge that life throws my way. One of my favorite Bible verses comes from Romans 8:18, which says, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." I know that the pain I am feeling now is part of God's plan for me, and there is a purpose behind all of it. His timing is perfect, and He has much more in store for me beyond the pain that I have felt in these last few months.
Although my relationship with God is nowhere near perfect, it is stronger now that I fully believe in His plan for me, and I am hopeful that it will only continue to grow in the future because I know that with Him by my side, I can get through anything.