Life is What You Make It
October 16, 2017
*Updated February 13, 2020
A lot of times when I'm confused, or when I'm going through a trial, or even when I just need to in a sense "meditate" on the things of God, I will put on one of my favorite worship albums, sprawl out in the middle of the floor, and just stare at the ceiling...well, at least I used to. It was comforting to lie there and to "be still" and listen for God's voice, and up until recently I lost that. And it wasn't because I turned my back on God, but because quite frankly I was so sick I didn't wan to do anything but lie in bed and perhaps try to sleep, because (when I could sleep) that was the only escape from the immense pain I felt 24/7 for over a year.
For anyone who doesn't know, I was diagnosed with UC back in the beginning of 2015, and it really began to take it's toll on me last year. Thanks to this lovely chronic illness, I spent last Christmas in the hospital, and pretty much all other major holidays this year so far in bed curled over in unbelievable pain. I actually remember when a couple friends came to visit me, they first texted me and asked if there was anything they could bring me, and I responded: "A coffin would be nice." Even though I was joking, it honestly wasn't far from the truth. I dropped below 100 lbs, was fatigued, and was in so much pain that I literally could not even walk up a set of stairs. I was stuck in this endless circle of not wanting to eat but having to, because well, you need to eat to stay alive. As my friends and family who saw me at the time will agree, it wasn't a pretty sight. I weighed in at 79 lbs. when I went in for surgery. Yikes!
The reason I share this is because God was the only thing I had to hang on to during those times. And I will admit, there would be sometimes weeks that went by where I didn't read my Bible because I felt like doing nothing except lying in bed and praying for it all to go away, but it didn't. I wanted to be mad at God, I wanted someone to blame, but in reality I knew it wasn't His fault. Life is unfair, we live in a fallen world, and people just get what they get. But even when I wasn't reading my Bible, even when I was in so much pain I'd rather die, God was there. Even in the midst of all that, God is still God, and He is still deserving of my worship. I was reminded of this during that time when listening to a few of my favorite worship songs, such as "I Will Worship You" and "Earnestly I Seek Thee" by Aaron Gillespie, which say :
"When I am losing, When I am broken, When I am sinking like a stone, And it feels like I am alone I will worship You. When I am so scared, Life is unfair, When I am tired to lose my way, When I am feeling so ashamed, I will worship You"
"In life's troubles sorrows and pain, earnestly I seek Thee. Fill my soul with peace again, earnestly I seek Thee. None but You and You alone. Take my life make it your own, In my offering build Your home, Earnestly I seek Thee"
Or Bryan and Katie Torwalt's "I Breathe You In, God", which say:
"When I don't understand I will choose You And when I don't understand I will choose to love You, God"
See, when we go through trials we can either choose: A) To blame God, and suffer alone, or B) Realize God is still on the throne regardless of our state and deserves our worship, and we can choose to honor Him and trust Him with our trials. As these songs stated, I did feel broken, I did feel scared, I did feel alone at times, and I sure as hell didn't understand, but choosing to seek Him was the only thing that made it worth getting up in the morning. Fast forward 3 months, I am now recovered from surgery, I am no longer ill, I've gained back most the weight I have lost back and counting, and I feel better than I have in two years. Even though this last year was the worst year of my life, I'm grateful for what it taught me, as it strengthened my faith in God. And when you're pretty much under house arrest for an entire year, you have a lot of time to evaluate your life, as this caused me to make some life decisions, such as (finally!) picking a career as I am now studying web development.
My point of all this is, life is what you make it. No matter what trials you are going through, know that it is because we live in a sinful, fallen world, and our only hope and escape from these temporary trials is in God. My faith in God is not dependent on how well things are going, if it was, my faith would have been shattered long ago. It's okay to admit things suck... but that's what makes worshiping and choosing God all the more beautiful, because if we only worshipped Him when things were going well, we wouldn't be worshipping God, we'd be worshipping god, with a lowercase 'g'. Choose God, my friends...not a god.
**EDIT** A lot has changed since I wrote this blog. I namely want to bring attention to the worship artists I referenced above. I think it must be noted that I can no longer condone either of them, as Aaron Gillespie has since denounced Christ and the entire Christian faith, and Bryan and Kate are apart of Jesus Culture and Bethel Redding, a tremendously heretical, dangerous, and demonic church (something I was unaware of at the time of writing this). This just goes to show that we can't base truth on feelings, or how things make us feel. For further info on Bethel Redding, please check out my podcast or reach out.