Pastor Charles Stanley once said, “Often times God demonstrates His faithfulness in adversity by providing for us what we need to survive. He does not change our painful circumstances. He sustains us through them.” Isn’t that a beautiful thought to embrace? Sadly, it is not the easiest thing to practice especially when we start walking through trials and adversity.
Of course, every trial and adversity can be told in a story. Every individual, Christ-follower or not, has them. This story is about two friends and two different trials, each used by our faithful Savior to bring glory to his name. The first one began in high school where all we looked forward to was prom, youth groups and colleges. It was one of those seasons in life where you didn’t expect any curve balls to hit. To a girl named Cara, one came and changed her life forever. It was her senior year when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She had no preexisting conditions or genetic predispositions, and was an exceptional student and football player. She was also a strong follower of Christ. It hit her, her family, and our youth group strongly primarily because as a teenager, you don’t expect to face mortality any time soon. Cara remained strong in the Lord, and God was faithful. She was operated on and the doctors called it a miracle that an hour post-operation she was fully aware and sipping a smoothie like nothing happened. She was quick to point to Christ and used that trial as a testimony.
Trials come in various shapes and sizes. For Cara, the Lord wasn’t finished using her life for His glory. Three years later, Cara was able to enroll in college courses and play football again. Those were things sacrificed and things that she missed and enjoyed doing. However, the brain tumor came back and this time, it was inoperable. The doctors gave her six months and as a witness to those remaining months, they seemed very short. One day we had her, and then another day, she was gone. To her family, it was one of the hardest things to go through. As her friend, my heart grieved and I remember praying the night she passed that “Lord, Your will be done.” There were questions, and there wasn’t much comfort at first but the Lord proved to be all that we, the youth group and her family, needed. Goodbye wasn’t easy, but one of our comforts was this- there was something other than this life to look forward to: eternity with our Savior in heaven.
The second story was ten year old Tim, who faced a brain tumor at an early age. Through the faith of his parents and himself, God sent healing and faith. Tim grew up serving the Lord in the music ministry and his talents at guitar playing were clearly visible. His love for the Lord was evident in his lifestyle. What next? Well, now at twenty-four years old, another tumor was discovered and he was operated on. God kept him strong and God is truly amazing with His ways. At the moment, Tim and his family need more prayer as Tim had to return to the hospital due to infection problems. My hope in all this is that we learn that God is always faithful, and that in all things, He be glorified.
2 Timothy 11-13 says, “If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he will remain faithful for he cannot disown himself.” I always marveled at His perfect faithfulness because in comparison with our lackluster and imperfect one, it is worthy of praise! It is much more beautiful as His faithful is dependent on Him alone; nothing we do adds or subtracts from it. There is nothing we can do to earn it and He gives it because of who He is. Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Dearest Lord, We live in a world of imperfection, where sin and its consequences lurk at every corner. Guard our hearts in your Word that we may stay strong in the only true foundation: Jesus that we may stay faithful and true and that we can fulfill our calling as a good soldier that shares the gospel to others. Amen.