Many times in my walk with God I have struggled to understand the ins and outs of why I go through certain things.
Sometimes my pain is caused by my own doing, while other times it’s not. In most situations, I seem to let my emotions override what God may be trying to communicate with me. But God has always used various means to get my attention to remind me that He is with me.
While in college in Minnesota I struggled to find where I truly belonged. I was far from home, ten years older than the other students and lacked a lot of faith, but I also understood that was where God wanted me to be.
I remember one evening I was so overwhelmed with everything. A good friend of mine, Courtney, said that I needed to calm down, so she led me into the prayer room to pray. She sat quietly in one corner while I sat in the other. At first I just sat there not really knowing what to do, so I started praying silently, but soon I felt hopeless and too weak to pray.
After a few moments, I heard a voice say to me, "I hold you in the palm of my hand, not the tip of my finger." The voice wasn't audible, but I heard it, and I knew it was God. Courtney understood what had just happened to me because she firmly believes that with God, things happen even before she begins to pray.
In fact, one afternoon while taking an online Spanish quiz, the page started freezing up and I couldn’t finish. I was kicked off the page, and instead of remaining calm and taking a deep breath, I hit the keyboard with my fist––hard. It immediately shut off and wouldn’t come back on.
I hurried down to the IT department. The technician looked at it, but couldn't fix it. I headed back to my room. I remember asking myself what was I going to do without a laptop.
As I turned the corner to head to my room, Courtney found me upset, aggravated and ashamed. She calmly took my laptop in her hands and began praying over it. Then, she asked me to try turning it back on. It didn't come on right away, but she didn't give up, so she prayed again. She told me to try again, so I pushed the power button and it came back on. I was giddy and relieved. We hugged and I thanked God for letting my laptop work, while also praying for His forgiveness for my attitude.
Throughout my life, God has shown me his love, whether it’s through people like Courtney, random sayings or His word. In previous years even before I went to college, I struggled to trust God's goodness, but thankfully when I needed reassurance He was always there.
Back in 2007, I went to the ear, nose and throat doctor. He told me my swollen and inflamed tonsils had to come out and the sooner the better. Even though I was 26 at the time, I cried like a baby because I had always heard having them out later on in life could be dangerous and I freaked out.
Later that evening, my friends took me out to get my mind off of the situation. After supper, we decided to go to Walmart to look around (because what else is there to do around here?). We were on the interstate when a car passed us with "Psalm 27” on the license plates.
I didn't know what Psalm 27 was (I didn’t have a smart phone then), but I was going to find out. As soon as we got to Walmart, I went straight to the book section, found a Bible and flipped to Psalm 27. A wave of relief washed over me as I read "The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?"
I knew in that moment that God was speaking to me, reminding me that everything was going to be okay. In fact, I studied Psalm 27 every day up until the day of my surgery.
On Dec. 13, I woke up with confidence knowing that my surgery would go smoothly. I had peace during the prep, as well as when the nurses wheeled me back to the operating room. And, thank God I recovered in time for Christmas.
I have come to realize that I need fellowship with God every day, and it's okay to be honest with Him, especially when I'm upset or fearful. He already knows how I feel and wants me to let Him into any and all situations.
I have also learned that God provides in the way He sees fit, not necessarily how I think He should answer. God could have turned my laptop back on when I asked Him or healed me so I didn't have to have surgery, but He wants me (and you) to expand and use muscles of faith, and to help us know that He's there to walk us through the battles in life.
I have never forgotten those words He spoke to me that night in the prayer room, nor the many times since then. And when I'm struggling, I try to remember that He holds me in the palm of His hand, not the tip of His finger.