by Charles Bertelsmeier
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In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead (2 Corinthians 1:9).
I was brought up in a Christian household, but my upbringing didn’t prepare me to face what life would throw at me. I sort of felt that my Christianity was some sort of magic shield to protect me from life’s problems. In my early 20s, I met this really wonderful woman, and soon we were married, and I thought life was great. Then the marriage deteriorated, became very toxic, and ended in a very acrimonious divorce. Because there was a child involved, we couldn’t fully separate. The pain continued for many more years with ongoing court cases. There were times when ending it all seemed to be the only way out of this mess.
Although sometimes I was aware of God’s presence and help, there were many times I was not (until looking back years later). God used this time – and the people he surrounded me with – to change me. The biggest lesson I had to learn, and I am still learning, was to actively believe that God loves me dearly and has a plan for my life. Of course, I don’t look forward to tragedies, but I am learning to entrust my whole life and the situations I face into God’s care, trusting that he has a purpose for everything that comes my way.
Some years ago, at a Christian retreat, I was moved by God to go out to the front to be prayed for and surrender my whole life to God. In the following days, I would remember this decision and reaffirm it. But what surprised me was how many areas of my life I wasn’t prepared to surrender to God. He is working steadily to release me from my fear of not being in control and to grow in trusting his love and purpose for me.
As I read about Jesus’ life in the Bible, I am surprised how much of what is written is Jesus reminding the people that God is in complete control. Much of it says he loves them dearly, and they can stop worrying about their own lives and concentrate on following where God is leading them.
How do you respond to new challenges in your life? Is it: ‘Oh, not again. I don’t know how I will survive this’, or ‘Thanks, God, that you will be with me again to guide me through this’?
Heavenly Father, Jesus made so many promises while he was here on earth that you would be with us always and never leaves us to ourselves. We ask for your help in believing these promises and knowing your peace in whatever is happening to us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.