Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life. Psalm 119:50
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:9-10
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
I never realized before this time in my life how profound these verses are. I've read them what seems like a million times but until recently, their depth remained a mystery to me. As I sit here writing this to you today, I am more aware of the deep meanings in the words before me. God has been using these verses in my life recently. I feel like I have been attacked on every side and though I am still standing, my knees feel like they could give out any second. Yet, Christ has maintained me. He has supported my weak places and he holds me up when my legs start to give way.
Without Christ, these past few months would have taken all of me, psychologically and emotionally. It has been difficult. Yet, tonight as I continue to work on this post, I rejoice in the glory of God, because he has brought me through that tough time. God has been my rock and my helper, my energy and my rest. I sit here tonight-knowing even more about "how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ" (Ephesians 3:17-19). And truly knowing that "...neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)"
Through the affliction, I have experienced this year; I came to a greater realization of my need for God. Being afflicted taught me to trust God. There were many times these past few months where I have had to trust God because I had nothing else to rely on. However, when I finally put my trust in Christ first, I was able to experience at a new level the faithfulness of God and his love for me. When I was completely alone in my feelings and experience, I was comforted knowing that; when no other human being understood, God did. God knew exactly what I was going through and did not question my life happenings with skepticism, like the other humans in my life. I was able to pour out my heart to Christ in that time because he knew what was going on, and he understood it far better than I even do today. Experiencing intimacy with God like that was amazing, refreshing, and restorative. In my affliction, God told me that he was testing my faith to prepare me for the future. Knowing this was comforting because it reminded me that God would not forsake me. Yet, finding this out made my heart sink because I knew that things were going to get worse for me. Even though I was sad at the thought of things getting more difficult, I felt God mourning with me at the difficulty I was undergoing. This was one of the moments I experienced God's great compassion and love for me deeper than I ever had before.
Dear sisters, I wanted to share all of this with you to encourage you. Yes, affliction is exhausting and difficult, at moments you may want to give up, but take heart in knowing God and his great love for you, take heart in these verses. Know that Christ will NEVER forsake you, and that he understands everything completely, even better than you do. Know that as you go through this difficult time, God never leaves your side, seek him, be patient, and constantly pray. You WILL get through this.
Love, your sister, Hillary
P.S. Britney and I would love to pray for you. If you have a request don't hesitate to send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or write it in the comments below.