Ever wonder why we go through battles in life?
Maybe you just overcame a big battle in life. Maybe you're going through one right now. Maybe you feel like your whole life has just been one big battle and you keep praying that you will receive good news soon.
But friend, the good news has already happened. The good news is that Jesus came to bear our burdens on the cross and overcome death. He is our victory. He has already overcome these trials and battles. Trials happen because we need a reason for God. We need a reason to grow stronger in our relationship with Him. If you're not going through a trial right now, just know that one is coming.
James 1:2-3 says. "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy."
WHEN you go through trials, not if. You will go through trials, and Jesus says to consider it joy. We can consider it joy because this allows us to grow closer to Jesus in our time of trouble.
One of the biggest problems for me is that I try to rely on myself. DISCLAIMER: I DON'T DO WELL ON MY OWN. I FAIL ON MY OWN BECAUSE I NEED JESUS. Cause my list of weaknesses goes much further than my list of strengths. But God says, "let me use your weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, "But he 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."
God can use your weaknesses to show His strength and to give Himself glory through every situation. We have these regrets of what we did or what God did. But what do those "what-if" statements change? Nothing. What's done is done and it all happened for a reason.
This trial/battle you're experiencing is for God's glory. Not ours. We may not see the reason or understand why bad things happen. If you had known the result of this trial, you probably would have made a decision somewhere along the line not to go through it. But then we miss out on the rewards from those battles from The One who knows all circumstances. And are we supposed to know all things? Nope. Only God knows.
There's a reason you're in this time of desperation, defeat, or despair. There's a reason you feel hopeless, lost, or confused. We may not know why, but God, the creator of the universe knows why and has a perfect plan that we cannot see. We cannot make the right decisions on our own. Our decisions rely on faulty human choices, when God's decisions are sovereign and perfect in every way.
One of the hardest things I ever had to hear was "Let go and let God." I like to be in control and I'll admit it's one of my biggest weaknesses. But I have to continuously tell myself that I am not in control. I am not God and I can't see the future to understand the purpose behind my battles. We have to understand that these trials aren't to bring glory to ourselves, but to bring glory to God. We have to learn to be God-focused instead of self-focused.
Honestly the hardest times in my life are the battles I want to share with people. Those are the experiences that I learned from and that I grew from. Those are the seasons I learned to trust God and learned how to rely on Him through my battles. Those tough seasons are the ones that I didn't know the outcomes for, which have been some of the most rewarding seasons.
One of my favorite stories to share is when my dad told me he was in kidney failure for the second time. It sounds tragic, I know. But just listen. It has a really good ending, I promise.
It was the October of my first semester in college. He called me and asked when I could get lunch so we made arrangements and we went to Longhorn steakhouse. I don't think anything of it. We did this quite often because I was a broke college freshman. (Do ya feel me?)
Well, we sit down and start talking about how school is going. We order our food and then he says, well my doctors appointment the other day didn't go so well. My creatine levels are rising. To preface, creatine levels determine the kidney function. And he has Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) which means his kidneys are overgrown with cysts. He had already undergone one kidney transplant when I was a kid, but that kidney only lasted 10 years.
He was needing a second one. So, here we are in Longhorn and I'm thinking, what am I gonna do? First thought was, I can't lose my dad. He has to see me graduate college, walk me down the aisle, see my kids…I was thinking the worst because I panicked (another one of my weaknesses). I could've broken down right there, but I waited to cry with my roommate that night because I felt like I needed to be strong for my dad.
I was not liking college as much as I had hoped and here I am not even through my first year of college and my dad is in kidney failure…again. We discussed the next steps in this process and we talked about how he could get another transplant. We decided to make a facebook post that night just to see what kind of response we'd get. We had heard all kinds of stories of people receiving transplants from people they didn't know. So we gave it a shot.
Fast forward to 48 hours later. We had 200 shares and several private messages from people we didn't know about going to get tests to see if they were a match. It blew us away that people were being so generous and willing to help my dad. It warmed my heart and made me think how cool God is for creating people with such giving hearts.
One of those 200 shares was my great aunt who owns a daycare in our hometown. She had received a message from a woman whose child attended her daycare. Her name is Brittany and she is an angel sent from above. She immediately offered to go get testing done without even knowing my dad.
Low and behold, she was a perfect match. My dad went through a few months of dialysis that was pretty hard on his body, but on March 10, 2016 they underwent surgery to perform my dad's second kidney transplant and everything went great. She was a trooper. She said she wanted to do it because if it was her son, dad, husband, brother, etc., she would just hope someone would do the same.
My dad's weakness of this disease didn't stop God's plan. God knew that Brittany was part of the plan all along and we had no idea. I couldn't comprehend what was happening because it all happened so fast. All I did was make the facebook post and that's all I had to do. I let go and let God. Over the course of the next few months I took him to some doctors appointments and dialysis treatments, but I really didn't do much to help because I let God take control. I didn't have to have the heavy burden on my shoulders. God used me to act as a small part in my dad's story for the ultimate story. We now can share this story to show people what God did in our lives for His glory.
It is one of my most favorite stories to tell because it truly shows that all we have to do is rely on God and His strength. Nothing we do as individuals can bring us out of our weaknesses. If we hadn't put our faith and trust in God in that moment, I'm not sure I could've made it through that trial. I learned really quickly that there will always be obstacles to overcome. And there's always a leap of faith involved in our circumstances, but we have to realize that our weaknesses are called weaknesses for a reason. We are weak in more areas than we can count and that's why we need God to help us and strengthen us. We cannot get through this life alone. He carries our burdens so we don't have to.
So friend, just know that there will be tough seasons no matter where you are with trials in your life. God has a plan and all we have to do is trust Him. On our own, we are not strong. In our weaknesses, we are made strong by Him. Remember to just let go and let God so His story can be told. If you feel like you've failed more times than you've won, just remember the final battle has already been won. When troubles come your way, all you have to do is trust and let Him carry you through.