When You Are Hurt : Alex Park
Psalm 22:1-5 (ESV)
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? 2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. 3 Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. 4 In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. 5 To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
I wasn't planning to write a testimony until someone asked me to. In my current situation, it is hard for me to be active at church, but I decided that I would share my testimony for my own good (and maybe for others too).
For those who are not familiar with me, I'm 17 years old and a junior at Bayside High School. As you can imagine, I'm stressing out over school and thinking about college. Church has played a big part in my life and still does to this day. I have an image at church that I put up. In fact, I am not what most people see me as. Many people think that I am a light and funny type of person because of the way I act in church. I always try my best to keep everyone at ease, but I've been doing this at the cost of myself. I've had many troubles in the recent years with friends, family, and other things. I've also suddenly lost people who were really close to me and I have been trying to deal with it in a "Christian" way.
During my sophomore year, I realized that each of my friends in my grade played a role in my life and I really tried to be close with everyone around me. I felt many blessings through retreats and I felt like I was getting closer to my friends. I thought I was perfectly fine with everything and I trusted my church teachers and went to them when I had any troubles. However, this was when I lost God for the first time. I idolized my friends and at the time, and I thought I was growing with them by making them a priority over everything else. I was especially close with some of them and I depended on them with my life. I didn't show them that I was struggling because I didn't want to bother them with what I was going through.
More problems started stacking up into my junior year. I started the year off fine and met some amazing people at school. Church wasn't a burden either so I loved the way life was. Although I felt that God was telling me to keep growing in faith, I was content with where I was in my life. And as I started getting comfortable not relying on God and not thinking about my relationship with Him, it was hard to go back. So I lied to everyone around me, saying that I was a Christian and that I truly loved God.
As I was struggling with my faith and relationship with God, I experienced a grave suffering. On the morning of December 16, 2018, I was at church waiting for the van to drop me off at Holy Cross when I received a call from my dad. I thought it was about how I forgot my offering but when I picked up, he told me that my grandpa had passed away an hour earlier. I immediately got out and went to see my grandpa. My grandpa had been suffering from dementia. Back then, when I had chances to go visit him, I always refused and said that I wanted to stay home and play games. I would always say, "I'll go another time.” When he passed away, my heart just broke and I went into a state of depression. My heart throbbed every day since. I felt like I lost everything and I had no interest in God after that. I refused to believe in Him after what happened.
Thankfully, what I experienced at the last Winter retreat healed me from my suffering. I spoke to a teacher about it and she kept reminding me that my grandpa went to a better place. At first, it was hard to believe that he passed away. Eventually, I tried to open up about it to others during prayer time. I saw that everyone around me was pouring their hearts out to God and I felt like I had to do the same. I knew that at this point, it was pointless to keep holding everything in when God already knew about the state of my heart.
And when I had finally let go of all the hurt and burdens I have been feeling for so long, I realized what my problem was and I was able to change my perspective. I really believe that God had met me again through that retreat. I have continued to worship Him since then. That retreat forever changed me and I felt that God has been healing me ever since. Now, I strive to always worship God in any situation that I'm in. God taught me to turn to Him whenever I was in trouble and I know that He will guide me. I realized that this isn't the only challenge that I'll face and much worse may come. Still, I want to keep growing with a genuine heart along with my friends.
For Your Reflection
We all go through a time of unexpected turns in life. We encounter difficulties at work or school, have health issues, face a sudden tragedy in our family, etc. It is easy for us to blame God and walk away from Him in those moments, but those are also the times we can feel His presence the most. It is okay to be honest with God. Let us draw near to Him even in our disappointments and confusion.