Thankful for It All : Andrew Lee
Revelations 21:4 (ESV)
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
When I was in elementary school, my mom started her own business. It operated for a couple of years until one of my mom’s coworkers decided to take advantage of her by stealing the store’s finances. My mom’s store went out of business because of that and it left a detrimental financial burden on our family. For years, my parents had to pay off the enormous debt while trying to financially support me and my two brothers.
I started to blame God for our suffering as I saw my parents bear such trouble and burden. I kept asking God, “Why did this happen to us? What did we do to deserve this?” Even after constantly praying and questioning God, all I got in return was silence and no definite answers as to why my family was going through such difficulties. I became irritated and decided to stop trusting in God. I felt as if God wasn’t listening and had left us to suffer alone. I started to close off my heart to Him. Being young and hopeless, I couldn’t understand why God had put us in that position if He truly loves His people. Still, I continued to go to church but with a bitter heart. I only went for the fellowship and fun activities.
When I became a sophomore in high school, my church went to Guatemala for summer missions. All my friends were going so I decided to go as well, expecting little. What I didn't know was that the missions trip would show me how God was working in my life all along.
Going to Guatemala was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I went with little to no expectations but came back so moved and changed. I was able to experience God’s love firsthand. When I was there, I visited different churches. I was amazed at the fact that even though we come from different backgrounds, God brings His people together in love. Even with the language barrier, I had no doubt that God truly provides for His people and that His love never fails.
One of the blessings that I experienced in missions was through the little kids whom I met in different churches during Bible study. Seeing them have little to nothing materially yet be so happy to be worshiping God truly softened my hardened heart. All this time I had turned away from God and blamed Him for my parents’ financial burdens but I never realized I had so much to be thankful for. I have a loving family, a roof over my head, and a church that I can call home.
I believe that God called me to Guatemala to answer my questions and prayers. Even through years of having a closed-off heart, God was working in me all along. He never left my side and continuously brought me back to church week after week. He called me to the Guatemala mission to finally show me that even through the brokenness and hardships, God’s love can move hearts. I saw people who had nothing still trust God even through suffering.
I was so ashamed of how unappreciative I had been for so long. God truly opened my eyes with the people I met in Guatemala. God had shifted my heart and it was then that I decided to follow Christ even through whatever trials and tribulations may come my way. He showed me that it is okay to not have an answer right away. I know that God will always be working in my life no matter what. As I continue to live as a Christian, I’m sure there will be many more sufferings. However, I have no doubt that God will be walking beside me through it all.
For Your Reflection
It is truly a blessing when God gives us clarity in our lives. It can come in many different ways; from an unexpected mission trip to a desperate prayer, we see more of God's love for us as He tends to our doubts and makes sense of life's big questions. If you're struggling with the same words, "Why God?", pray that God will enable you to trust Him. For as great as it is to hear from God in this life, He has promised us a day when there will be no more tears and no more pain. A day when the questions and doubts have passed away, and we can celebrate in the glory of His presence.