Mya’s Weekly Insight: Why do we struggle?

Mya Hudgins, Faith Editor

Many Christians expect the life of following Jesus to be simple, easy and a connection with Christ that is unswayable. The truth is, it’s hard, full of faith, trust and struggles. Many people may wonder how can I suffer when I am a Christ follower. In the Bible, it never says life will be easy. Instead, many of the people who loved Jesus the most suffered a lot.

For example, take Acts 16:16-40. This chapter is about Paul and Silas being thrown in prison. Paul wrote about Jesus and many books of the Bible. He admired Christ and loved him. In these verses, a girl was following the two men around yelling “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” This went on for days. Paul was tired and annoyed so he turned around and cast the spirit out of her. For that reason right there, both Paul and Silas were thrown into prison. The good news is, Paul and Silas never lost sight of their faith and Christ set them free from prison. Now, this might not look like suffering to us nowadays, but it definitely was. Today many people suffer with money, friendships, parents, jobs, school, suicide, heartbreaks and many other things. Suffering can control us at times, we can let our circumstances change us and our beliefs.

Your question may still remain, why do we have to suffer if we know Christ loves us? In James 1:2-4, we can see a reason directly from Christ on why we suffer. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” The first sentence of this verse may throw you off a little bit.

“Count it all a joy.”

What? A joy? That doesn’t make sense. Who wants to be joyful when they are going through something hard. God tells us when we go through hard times, it’s because God is testing our faith so it becomes stronger. It is so easy to lose all faith in God when something bad happens. As humans, we are the first ones to run to our friends and talk about what bad thing is happening in our life, when in reality we should be running towards Jesus for prayer.

What does “steadfast” mean? According to dictionary.com it means “resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering. So, let’s rewind a little. Basically, God is telling us to have joy even when we are having a bad day or going through a time of suffering. When we suffer, God is testing our faith. But He doesn’t just want a low level of faith, he wants a faith that is unwavering or grounded. When we are SUFFERING God is making our faith UNWAVERING. This does bring Joy. Christ wants us so grounded that when anything comes our way, we know that our faith can withstand anything. The last part of the verse says we will be complete, lacking in nothing. A life time of struggles and pain will bring us perfectness and being complete because our faith is so strong not a single worry comes to mind.

This past year I had a testing of my faith. I was having really bad back pain, and it seemed like no one knew what was wrong. I run cross country and track here at OBU, so you can imagine, I was pulled from running. This was the first thing I began to struggle with. I desired to run, but it seemed like it was pulled away from me. As the months went on, the pain became more present in my day-to-day life, sitting, standing, bending down and more. As the school year came to an end, I was in so much pain and didn’t understand what I did wrong to deserve this. In late July, I was told I would be needing major back surgery in August. As an 18 year old I was terrified.

What teenager has to have major back surgery? I was worried and scared.

What if I couldn’t run again? What if it went wrong and I couldn’t even walk?

Those were just a few of the many worries I had. Now, three months post-surgery, I am doing better than expected. I was released to do low-level activities a month and a half earlier than expected. I’m not saying by no means this was easy. During this time, I had a big wake up moment from God.

First, I realized this talent I had was from God and He can take that away if He wants. I was reminded that even if I lose everything, at least I still have my faith. As I meditated on this, I put the things I was worrying with in the “blank…” even if I lose running, walking, school, health and many other things, I know my faith still remains in Him. None of those things are my identity, but instead my identity lays in the name of Christ.

Paul and Silas remanded in Christ and they were freed. God will always show himself in your darkest moments if you allow him too. Sometimes all it takes is a little growing of faith. This past summer my faith has grown even more, and I learned so much. If I had the opportunity to be healthy and never have gone through the surgery and the trials… I wouldn’t exchange it for anything. When you come out of the dark trial and see where you started, you can’t help but have a smile on your face because your steadfast faith is one step closer to being completed and perfect. It takes strong Christians to lead this world in love, wisdom, faith and trust. Next time you struggle with something in life, remember your one step closer to being the person that God is wanting you to be.

 

 

Mya’s Weekly Insight: The cycle of life, how Christians should respond

MYA (3)Mya Hudgins, Faith Editor 

There are 195 countries, 7 continents, 7 seas, estimated about 6,909 languages, roughly 4,200 religions, and somewhere between 11,500 and 16,000 different people groups in this world. It’s crazy to think about how you and I are just one of billions of people on this earth. We won’t even know a fourth of the people in this world during our lifetime. According to the Ecology Global Network, there are four births and two death each second of the day. When this is added up, there are around 360,000 births per day and around 151,600 deaths per day.

Now that you understand just how small we are, you must also understand two things. First, God’s creation and second, our calling.

Isaiah 64:8 says, “Yet you, Lord, are our father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”

In this verse, we are immediately shown that we are made in God’s image. We are hand-made, perfectly. Everyone looks different and has different personality but God chose these special things specifically for us. We were not made the same. Out of all the billions of people in this world, there is no one like you. Imagine a world full of you. The person sitting next to you looked and acted just like you do.

In my opinion, it would be very hard for me to believe in a God who didn’t even love us enough to make me different from the people I’m surrounded with. That in itself shows just how much Christ loves you.

This leads into the next point: our calling. As Christians, we are called to be missionaries. Whether that is using your calling down the street or traveling around the world. From the first paragraph, one can see just how many people are in this world. Many are dying every day and even more are coming into the world. As Christians, this should scare us more than anything. We are failing our calling by the day. When those people die in one day, what are the chances all of them are Christians? What are the chances that they all will go to heaven?  What are the chances they have even heard the Gospel? It is time to wake up and face the facts. No, we “can’t wait until the time is right” or “share the Gospel another time just not right now.”

I am just as guilty when it comes to being scared and afraid to go share with someone, but that’s not an excuse for someone’s eternal life to be hell. This world is all about life and death. It’s a never-ending cycle.  We don’t know who is going to die next, but take a step of faith and trust that Christ will give you the words to say.

The opposite of death is birth.

Every day, new humans are brought into this world. Yes, they are too young to understand the Gospel, (give them a couple days and then they might understand) but this is where being a godly example comes into play. Not every child has a chance of growing up in a Christian home, but there should be people out in the world that can lead by the example that Christ has given us.

1 Timothy 4:12 says, “let no one despise you because you are a youth, but set the believers an example in your speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.”

If you get the opportunity to be an example and mentor to a student or child, don’t let yourself pass it up. You never know what God will teach them but also teach you. He has a mysterious way of working in people’s lives, even if they think they are helping someone else.

If every believer takes a stand and is determined to share the gospel every day, whether that’s showing love, sharing your testimony or just helping someone understand what and who Jesus Christ is, maybe the number of people who are dying unsaved will decrease.  His love for us is never ending and unconditional. Be strong and remember that we may not get appreciation here on earth, but Heaven is where we will hear the words “good job my good and faithful servant.”

Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”