“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:17-18)
I am in an interesting season of life right now. For the first time since I can really remember, I don’t have many struggles. There are not many things that would prompt my anxieties or fear. My health is good, school isn’t too stressful, I have the next year or so mapped out and I am feeling more connected relationally. I am grateful and praise God for the peace I have right now. The last 4 years or so have been incredibly challenging, confusing and very painful at times.
Despite my peace, there’s a part of me that wants more challenges. About a year and a half ago, I was listening to a sermon that encouraged people to pray for troubles to get closer to God. The baby believer that I was at the time, who was desperately seeking for more of God, made that bold prayer. And…whelp, I landed in the hospital a second time.
Despite all the pain that came with that, I am so glad God allowed that to happen to me. While in the hospital and especially after, I felt so close to God like I’d hoped. I did not know what to believe in those moments. My illogical, psychotic thoughts seemed so real at times. I didn’t know what was reality and what wasn’t. The only thing I was sure of was that God could help. I knew that he was close and felt like he was the only one I could trust and safely rely on to set my mind straight. I was desperate and fully submitted to him, admitting that my thoughts could be wrong even though there were parts that were sinfully enticing. Surely enough, he delivered me from this madness. I didn’t even see a therapist who I talked deeply about my innermost thoughts and fears during the first couple months after I got out of the hospital. While I am grateful for the therapists I have had all these years and they have helped me tremendously, God has helped me and given me more peace than any of them. And though it probably would have been helpful to have one then, God was enough in those early times.
The time I have felt the closest to God though was in the beginning of my relationship with Jesus. Before fully accepting Christ, I was so scared. After hearing the gospel, I knew it was something that I wanted but there was a big price to pay. You see, I didn’t know if I would ever get married if I became a Christian. I was having same-sex attractions and to be honest, I didn’t know if I could ever be in a relationship with a man. However, because of differing beliefs, I didn’t know if homosexuality was a sin or not. I desperately wanted my desires to be confirmed but I was scared to death if I was wrong. I spent countless hours researching and crying to God for answers. Eventually I fully submitted. I told God, either way, I was his. In that moment, God softly responded that it was a sin but gave me a supernatural sense of peace and security and an amazement that I cannot even begin to describe. The God of the Universe had talked directly to me!!! How amazingly beautiful was that? I was high on God. I didn’t care about my future marital status. All I wanted was Him.
I want that high back. I want that deep, supernatural connection to God that is beyond all understanding. Unfortunately, that often requires pain. We need to be in a position where we need to rely on God alone for all our strength and peace that our flesh and the world cannot adequately provide. So, I am making that bold prayer again. God, bring me trouble. Whatever it takes to bring me back to that place. I want to mature into the daughter you want me to be. In that day, I will praise your name.
“Count it all oy, my brothers, when you met 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.” (James 1: 2-4)