It was my parents’ divorce in 1995 that drew me to Christ. I was watching my father do things I knew were wrong. However, I did not remember him ever saying adultery and divorce were wrong. I began to question what I believed and knew my kids’ beliefs needed to be based on more than my flawed example. The next five years of my life were riddled with trials: two surgeries, career change, multiple job losses, loss of our home, a cancer scare, and autism. In 1999, I called my sister and said, “If this is what life is like with Christ, I’m done.” My brother-in-law said, “ You gave your life to Christ and now you’re ready to walk away and you don’t even know Him.” I will never forget his words. They sparked the beginning of me diving into the Bible and learning about the Jesus I serve.
I thought that when I accepted Christ as my Savior He would be with me (Hebrews 13:5), protect me (Isaiah 41:10), and provide for me (Philippians 4:19). What in the world did I sign up for? It did not take long for me to realize I was missing some important information.
The first verse I remember learning was James1:2, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.”
It is not “if” you have trials, but “when!” The Apostle Paul spent his life sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout Rome making a way for countless gentiles to come to know Christ. I was stunned to read his resume of trials ranging from daily pressures to daily beatings and imprisonment (2 Corinthians 11:22-28). This man spent his life serving God in ways I never will and yet God allowed and even caused (2 Corinthians 12:6) strife throughout his ministry. With all that he had been through, he makes an amazing statement in 2 Corinthians 11:30, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”
Paul states in 2 Corinthians 12:10 that he is “content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, calamities.” Paul had learned the important truth I had been missing. He understood that in those difficult times when he is pressed beyond measure, he is forced to be fully dependent on the Lord. It is in our dependence on Him that we experience His power. When we read Scripture, we must be careful to understand it in its entirety. James 1:2 does state that there will be trials but we need to keep reading, “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”(James 1:3-4).
Believer, we must not overlook the cost of a life lived for Christ. He does not promise an easy life but He does promise to always be with us (Matthew 28:20), a peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7), and unspeakable joy (1 Peter 1:8) in the midst of it all. My parents’ divorce brought me to Christ and all the struggles since have helped me to know Him better and have transformed my life. Life with Christ is a rough road but this I know: The Rewards Far Outweigh The Cost!