As a result of my poor choices and many years as an addict I brought all kinds of hardship, calamity, distress, affliction and misfortune into my life and into the lives of those around me. That was a time in my life when hopelessness, despair, shame and guilt ruled and became my very existence. I can remember not knowing how I was going to go on another day. I didn’t have a close personal relationship with Jesus at the time and it was very difficult to overcome evil desires and deal with my conscience on a daily basis. Even though I knew my actions were wrong and I needed to be obedient to Jesus; it seemed like I did not have the strength to fight my temptations. I felt all alone and as though I had no way out. I was weak and fragile. My life style separated from God became a viscous cycle of self-defeat.
I cried out to Jesus for help many times and I guess in my foolishness, I expected Him to just remove all the temptation and obstacles that were in my way and make me be obedient. Given a free will with the ability to make a conscience choice to do the right thing, He wanted ME to take action. He allowed adversity in my life to draw me closer to Him and to help me see the truth of LIFE. My will had to be broken so I would surrender control to Him and turn from my wicked ways. Because of my brokenness, my heart was open to what He wanted to show me. When I entered the Renewal Program, I continued my journey of searching for Jesus by reading His word. His word was planted in my heart like a seed and it began to grow and grow. The more I read His word, the more my spirit began to gain strength and nourishment to fight the enemy of my soul.
While at the Renewal Program I developed my personal relationship with Jesus and learned how to overcome adversity with Him by my side. I learned that Jesus saved me from the pit of Hell. And there was no tragedy on earth that would ever compare to that saving grace. “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17 With that realization, I was able to put things in proper perspective. In this life, Christians and non-Christians will experience all kinds of adversity because we all live in a fallen world. The difference is, walking closely with Jesus, Christians can face adversity with strength to persevere, confident that He knows what’s best and as a result, our faith and trust in Him increases. For those who don’t know Jesus personally, adversity will lead to utter despair. I now strive to set my priorities on the eternal instead of wasted temporary ambition. As a Christian, “I know that my present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in me.” Romans 8:18
- If you want to live you must die. Romans 8:13
- If you want to go up you must go down. Luke 14:10, Matthew 18;4, James 4:10
- If you want to see you must admit you are blind. Matthew 13:15
- If you want to be righteous, you must admit you are a sinner. 1 John 1:9
- If you want to be first, you must be last. Mark 9:35, Matthew 20:16
- Jesus didn’t come to save the righteous, He came to save the sinner. Mark 2:17, Luke 5:32
- Jesus died on a cross and that CROSS was God’s best for you and for me! 1 Peter 2:24, John 3:16, Philippians 2:8
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:2-4
Without adversity in my life, I am certain I would not have seen my desperate need to walk closely with Jesus and my need to turn away from my wicked ways. Now that I have surrendered my life to Jesus, I am the happiest I ever have been. And I know, no matter what happens to me while here on this earth, I will be okay. I have been saved from eternal doom and now have a home in paradise waiting for me, filled with unimaginable love.