I’ve been a Christian for as long as I can remember, but somewhere along the way, I think I was taught something wrong. And I know it’s not just me because other people my age who I’ve talked to believe the same thing I did: if you’re a Christian, you won’t suffer.
So, basically you’re telling me that if I do suffer, I’m not a strong enough Christian.
You’re writing off my sexual assault, battle with depression, and my eating disorder as nothing more than a lack of faith. Let me tell you about my faith and how I would get up every day praying that the floor would hold firm beneath my feet. I had faith that I would make it through the day, that the weight of the world would be light enough that I wouldn’t collapse under the pressure of it all.
So don’t tell me I’m not a strong enough Christian because I’ve suffered.
I have told myself I’m not enough enough times on my own.
Not pretty enough.
Not smart enough.
Not good enough.
Not worthy enough.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say Christians will be free from suffering. In fact, the Bible explicitly states that those who believe in Jesus will suffer greatly, which should come as a surprise to approximately no one.
I mean, if you think about it, Jesus went through the Ultimate Suffer for us.
The Bible says a lot of things about a lot of things, but saying that Christians won’t suffer is not one of them.
One thing I’ve learned as an English major is that context is important. When analyzing a work, we all have our own interpretations, but we can’t forget the historical context of the work. Where it was written and when it was written are the only true ways to know why it was written.
My story is the same way. I have a story, but it’s only a smaller part of a larger story. It is this larger story that is the most important; and it’s determining where I fit, how my story fits into the larger story, that I am focusing on.
How can you tell me, then, that my suffering is because I’m not enough?
I know I’m enough because of what I’ve been through and how my story has impacted others. My story transcends language barriers because when I went to Guatemala, I was able to lead a young girl to Christ because I was brave enough to share my story.
I graduate from college in 9 or 10 days, depending on how you want to count, and I don’t really have any concrete plans yet.
I have all these big plans for my life, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever accomplish even half of them. And I’ve come to learn to be ok with that. I’ve learned that my life really isn’t my own. Yes, I’m living it, but it is a gift, on loan from the ONE who knows the end of this script.
Time is a weird, mind-boggling concept, and I don’t know how much time my life has been given.
5 years ago, I thought I was out of time, but God decided my story wasn’t finished, my job wasn’t done. I can’t pretend to know the inner workings of God’s mind, so I don’t know why I was called back.
All I know is that God decided I wasn’t done yet, and I have to be ok with that, despite knowing many people who aren’t given second chances.
Just because God has a plan for my life that doesn’t mean my suffering ends.
And no, suffering wasn’t part of the Plan at the beginning, but sometimes plans change. And the plan for humanity changed after the whole incident with Adam, Eve, and the devilish serpent.
The greatest downfall of man happened because of something the Greek Tragedy writers refer to as Hubris: excessive pride.
The pride of the first two people on earth doomed them and the rest of the human race to a life of suffering.
Suffering is hard to understand in the moment, but after the rubble begins to clear, you start to understand how strong you are.
I’ve started to understand how strong I am.
I’ve been sexually assaulted.
I’ve battled depression.
I attempted suicide.
I fought an eating disorder.
And I’m a stronger Christian now than I was before because through it all, God never left my side.
Because I am enough.