For the past few months, I have shared my faith in the God I strive to pursue with my whole heart. Tonight, I want to do what I find extremely terrifying. I want to share my story.
One thing I want you to remember before you read this is that we all have our own personal story of meeting the Lord. Everyone is unique, and God uniquely calls each of us to a relationship with him. Your testimony is probably different than mine, but they both point to the unrelenting love of the same great God…
“He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.” -John 1:8
We all have those people in life that we look up to. Those people who inspire us to do better — to be better — by the way they live or because of something they have done. For me, I’ve been blessed to have a number of people who have been this source of inspiration and encouragement, but one stands out among them all. One man, through living a life of dedication to the Lord and to encouraging those around him, showed me what it truly means to be a follower and disciple of Jesus.
At 14 years old, everything seems like the end of the world. But hearing someone you love has a renewed battle with cancer seems to warrant a heart-shattering response no matter how old you get…and that is what I had. I didn’t know everything, but I knew the road that was ahead. Again, being 14 years old I felt there was nothing I could do to help, so I did the only thing I knew to do: I prayed. I prayed every day, every night, every time my mind turned back to him, all the while rarely letting anyone except God see how terrified I was of losing this person I had known all of my life.
For about a year I prayed and pleaded and often cried out to God for healing (again, alone or when no one was watching because I hate people seeing me cry) until finally I reached this place of saying “God, I’ve prayed for your will to be done and I never really meant it, but now I do.”
This for me was the turning point in my faith. At 15 years old and despite the anger and frustration and doubt I often felt at why God couldn’t just take the cancer away, I realized I couldn’t be selfish. I couldn’t pray for God to change his plans when I knew in my heart his plans were best. And from years of silently watching Bobby and the way he lived his life with humility before God, I knew he trusted the Lord’s plan with every piece of his heart, and now I would do the same.
After the Lord took him home, I told myself that if Bobby couldn’t continue to be the person that I, and probably countless others, looked to as an example of how to live for Christ, then I would give my all to be that example. I picked up my first devotional, I read my Bible, I prayed, I learned what faith was all about, and I worked daily at finding the faith Bobby had. And I ultimately found myself in Christ. I wanted to live a life that drew people to the God I have come to love so deeply because I wanted for people to experience what I had by watching and learning about the Lord through Bobby…and for those that have wondered why I share bible verses or similar posts each day, that is how it began.
My testimony, small as it might be, exists because of one man’s faith in God and his unwavering belief in making known the love and the goodness of God, even when his own life seemed to be falling down around him. He was the person who went out of his way to make you feel welcome, who would always smile at you and make sure you knew that Jesus loved you and he did too. He was the person who loyally and faithfully relied on God to be his strength. To this day I find myself looking up and praying to one day have the faith that he seemed to live in.
And so here I am 6 years later, still striving to be an example of what the amazing power of the Holy Spirit can do in the heart of someone willing to answer the call He places inside of each and every human being.
Today I share because I finally understand. I understand how a man battling cancer could remain hopeful. I understand how in the face of death, there is joy. I understand that clinging to God is something to do even in the good times, because he is worthy. I understand how incredible is the power and the grace and the love of the God who gave his only Son to pay the price of each of our sins so that we could be saved.
For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever.
This is the God Bobby pursued, and since the day the Lord welcomed Bobby into his heavenly home, this is the God I pursue.
We all have a story. The purpose of our story is to be told, to be read, to be shared in some way in hopes of encouraging others in their pursuit of the Lord. So now I encourage you to share your story. Share the beauty of finding Christ, and watch as the Lord is revealed through it and through you.