I have always had some form of relationship with God. When I was little I had an innocent love of Him and often played and talked with Him. As a teenager, I tried to ‘pretend’ I didn’t know God, just so I could fit into my non-christian school. It didn’t work very well. It was hard to deny the existence of a God who came and talked to me every night. As well as that I was so shy, depressed and awkward that I didn’t make many friends. I lived in a dark and confusing world. Choosing God over my dark trouble gave me a way out.
I did what the church encouraged me to do. I read my bible, prayed, went to church, sang, volunteered, became filled with the Holy Spirit, tried to live right, sat under preaching and teaching, even taught and preached myself. I did all of the things that I thought that I had to do as a Christian. In those early years I had a lot of fun. However, some five or so years later, my life became difficult. I experienced a lot of emotional and mental pain and loss. Little by little things got whittled away, until I felt like I had lost all reason to live. By this stage I was married with two children aged one and four, and had endured ten really hard years.
When I was a teenager God often said to me, “Cheryl, trust me”. I would try to trust Him repeating “Cheryl, trust God” over and over again, yet couldn’t convince myself God was trustworthy. Why couldn’t I trust Him? I had a great amount of knowledge about God, yet I found myself standing on crumbling soil of doubt. My head knowledge didn’t contain evidence of God being trustworthy. All I could see was the hurtful, frightening things of my childhood and my current pain. So how did I get from doubt, to a place of praise for God’s faithfulness? Evidence!
A few months ago my husband and I experienced great loss. This caused me to reflect back on my life. After reflecting I sent a text message stating: “this world can disappoint, people can fail you, scary things can happen… I know I have seen and experienced all of these. But you know I can’t think of a time when God has ever failed”. I was not speaking about pleasant or rosy things in the text, yet I concluded that God was good. What did I see to come to this conclusion? The sovereign loving hand of God. I saw His hand leading me to where I am today – proclaiming God’s love and faithfulness.
The truth be told those difficult years felt like I was stumbling and fumbling through life, making mistake after mistake. At the time I felt like a failure and a fool. However, when I looked back I saw something different. I didn’t see myself as a foolish failure. I saw myself as God’s deeply loved little girl. I saw Him standing faithfully by my side, holding me in my pain. I could see His hands building stepping-stones for me, so that I could get closer to Him. I could see Him stripping away the things inhibiting our relationship. He was uncovering truths about who He really was, the fallacy of hoping in this broken world, the enemy’s destructive influence on me and teaching me how to overcome. God removed the dross, so He could reveal the beautiful Cheryl He had created. God used my suffering to reveal His trustworthiness and His beauty in me.
There have been times in recent months, where the enemy has stated I was foolish to believe in God’s faithfulness. But even in the continued pain and loss, I have found no evidence of God’s unfaithfulness. I have cried out to God stating how I felt ravished by the storm, drowning in its’ rising waters. He responded to my cry with a vision of Him lifting me up out of the flood waters. He has spoken words of prophecy that I have held on to when trouble has struck. I have had moments where I have felt discouraged and then read or heard someone speak life-giving truth. I have received texts of love or prayer from people who didn’t know I was feeling alone and struggling. When I’ve woken during the night to demonic attack, I have proclaimed God’s truth and watched Jesus bind and destroy the enemy.
Yes I am struggling! But God is with me in the struggle. He is fighting for me, providing comfort and love in the midst of adversity. The evidence of God’s faithfulness continues to pile up. I have a storehouse full of truth to build my faith upon. My conclusion remains unchanged. God is faithful and worthy of my trust!
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