But honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. However, do this with gentleness and respect… – 1 Peter 3:16-17
People are watching. When you profess to be a believer, those around you who are not saved are watching to see how you handle trials and suffering. After all, it is easy to profess a strong faith when things are going well, with no bumps in the road. However, when things get complicated and messy, our true colors tend to be revealed. I have said before that I want Jesus to be my “default”. I want my faith to soar even when my world comes crashing down. I want to have an eternal perspective that says that I am in this world, but not of it — that my true Home is Heaven.
The night of my husband’s death, I told God that I would be “all in”. Some days this is easier for me to live up to than other days. Sometimes I just want to crawl in a hole and hide there. On other occasions, I feel like my heart could burst with a passion for God. But even in my darkest moments, I still have a hope. Even though I may be feeling discouraged, angry, or frustrated, I still have a hope that produces an internal joy that can only be explained because of my faith in Christ.
It’s funny because people really do notice this. I have been completely amazed by the comments that people have made to me. Things like, “Wow, if I were you there’s no way that I could have survived this tragedy.” The truth is, in and of my own strength there is NO way that I could have survived this. It truly is because of God’s peace that surpasses all understanding. Because of God, I can endure this trial.
This journey has taught me so much. But one of the biggest things that I have discovered is that walking through a tragedy gives me an opportunity to tell others about Jesus. Just like 1 Peter 3:16 says, “Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” My hope comes from Him. It is the only reason that I am still standing. People can dispute my theological knowledge, but no one can dispute my story… how God has shown up in my life cannot be debated! That being said, there must also be a measure of authenticity and humility when defending my hope. I never want to paint a picture of Jesus as a band-aid to slap on to hurts and wounds. I also never want to throw around christian jargon, denying who I am and how I am feeling. The fact is, life can be hard, painful, messy, and even rotten at times. In fact, sometimes we may need to wrestle our feelings out with God. This is so healthy! Working through our hurts with the Great Healer and Comforter draws us closer to Him.
God, I pray that all the days of my life will be a testimony to Your greatness. Thank You for giving me hope when all earthy hope has seemed to be lost. Continue to help me to point others to You as the source of my strength. May I continue to trust You with my life. In Jesus’ precious Name.