Continued from here.
In my last blog entry, I shared some of my testimony of how perseverance did not come naturally to me. While what I shared was from the perspective of an immature Christian, parts of my testimony showed the beginnings of growth.
The first time I faced a serious trial (sudden death of my father), I walked away from God for 11 years. At the most immature level, that’s our natural reaction when we encounter trials: “I’m out of here!”
While I got most things wrong re: perseverance with my next trials (infertility, adoption process, and therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder), I did do one thing right – I decided that I would maintain a relationship with God. Walking away from God a second time was not an option. In fact, when I learned I was infertile, I decided that I already knew that trying to deal with a heavy life blow (losing my father) without the support of God did not work, so I made a conscious choice to go through this trial while having a relationship with God.
Nevertheless, I had quite the chip on my shoulder about it. I found it very unfair that most of my peers had both a living father and the ability to become pregnant while I was “cheated” out of both. It took me a long time to make peace with both the loss of my father and my infertility, and I certainly never considered either trial to “be pure joy.”
One important aspect of perseverance is choice. We must choose to say to God, “I’m going to stay in this relationship with You no matter what.” That’s one thing I did do right, and it began the process of maturity.
This first step can be particularly difficult when you have gone through very deep pain, such as the death of a loved one, child abuse, rape, a serious illness/injury, or other such life-altering blow. I can’t remember where I heard this, but a man who lost his son angrily cried out to God, “Where were You when my son died?” The answer he received was, “The same place I was when My son died.”
As someone who has endured numerous life blows, including the sudden death of a parent as a minor, rapes and other severe forms of child abuse, infertility, and parenting a child with special needs, I know how difficult it can be to make the decision to stay in a relationship with God. It’s human to question where God was when all of these painful life events crush your world. However, you do have a choice. The choice to follow God, even in the midst of serious life trials and challenges, is the first step toward maturity in Christ.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace hitchhiking. Courtesy Bitmoji.]