One thing I love about being in my 30s is that I’ve become more reflective. I’ve always been a deep thinker but lately I find myself detecting patterns in the rather variegated and sometimes chaotic threads of my life that, to me, reveal the watchful eye of a loving God.
Looking back at when I turned 14, for example, my world slipped into an orbital shift. My parents had gone through a financial crisis and lost our home. I was homeless—my sister and I would live with a friend for the next two years in a one bedroom apartment.
Life was really tough. I was enrolled in a new school and was one of perhaps 5 minority students in the entire district. To add to the chaos, my sister and I met my mom at a laundromat one dark night. There, my mom told us that she was battling breast cancer.
My dad was trying desperately to recover financially, to bring his scattered family back under one roof while dealing with his beloved wife’s illness and trying to continue his role as a minister.
Some might be tempted to think of this as a tsunami of ill-fortune and, truly, I can’t begin to describe the turbulent emotions and stress that characterized the next few years. But, looking back, I see how God used this time of intense pressure to solidify the fledgling faith of a 14 year old—and to prepare him for the next stage in his life.
Looking back now I see that so many things could’ve gone wrong. I could’ve dropped out of school, got mixed up in drugs or turned my back on a God who let our world fall to pieces. There were plenty of opportunities and temptations. But, for His own reasons, God had other plans.
Abraham Lincoln is my ultimate favorite president. He once wrote these words that crystallize my own beliefs.
The purposes of the Almighty are perfect, and must prevail, though we erring mortals may fail to accurately perceive them in advance.Abraham Lincoln, Letter to Eliza Gurney
I cannot explain the intricacies of why God allowed this dark period and many others that would follow. But I can say that it was in this arena of spiritual and emotional conflict that I discovered the prevailing power of faith.
Just after my 15th birthday, my family was reunited as my parents were able to secure a new home. God brought my mother through her battle with cancer in a way that the doctors couldn’t explain. I graduated high school early at 16 and went to college with a partial scholarship and ended up a full-time educator.
Looking back, I see that while weeping may indeed last for the night, joy still comes in the morning.
Whatever you’re going through, remember that faith makes all things possible and your story isn’t over yet.
I hope this encourages someone out there!