Too often, it can become easy to ask, “Why?” “Why does this or that happen?” “Why must I go through this?” Even if we don’t find ourselves asking “Why?” sometimes we still might get discouraged because of the various trials we face in life. The past few weeks have been beyond overwhelming for me as I try to complete the many papers, book reviews, and exams that come with being a college student in the midst of all the inconvenient challenges that just have to occur in the middle of all of this. That’s when God says, “Trust in me!”
To be honest though, I have not always been faithful in trusting in God’s plan. Too often, I have told God what I think should happen, and how I think things should play out. When things didn’t pan out the way I wanted, I became frustrated or I questioned God.
Throughout high school, I shouted at God when my Crohn’s Disease became too unbearable. I asked Him, “Why? Why? Why?” as if He should explain why He didn’t answer my prayers the way I wanted Him to. As my faith has grown in college, I have learned to trust more in that He has a plan for me and a purpose for me. But even still, there are times where my faith still isn’t what I would like it to be. I don’t read my Bible as much as I should. I don’t sit in silence with God as much as I should. Too often, I try to find excuses of “Oh, I can do that later God.” “Maybe tomorrow.” “Next week, God. Next week.” “Perhaps when my semester is over.”
It is then when the outspoken faith of a 10 year old shows me what it truly means to be on fire for Jesus. Yesterday was absolutely amazing! My grandparent’s youngest adopted child, Isaac, proclaimed to the world that he is a believer in Christ by getting baptized. He asked me a week ago, grinning from ear to ear, “Joshua, are you coming to my baptism?” Of course I told him that I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
As long as I have known him, Isaac constantly proclaims his love for Jesus. Even in the midst of way too many challenges for a young kid like him to face including health problems of his own, he never stops telling others that Jesus loves him and he loves Jesus. The compassion he shows for others just absolutely amazes me.
He also shows me what it means to thank God for everything you’re given in life, both the good things and the challenges. A few weeks ago, on Easter Sunday, we all gathered around, my Dad, grandparents, and all the kids, as I read passages from the Gospels on the sacrifice Jesus gave us. We used Easter eggs to illustrate each stage in the story. Each egg had an item in it symbolizing a different part of the story. The last one was empty symbolizing that Christ is no longer in the tomb.
Before sharing the Easter story, I listened as Isaac prayed for us. He told God everything he was thankful for. “Lord thank you for Mommy and Daddy. Thank you for Ronnie. Thank you for Joshua. Thank you for Paige.” He continued until he named everyone there. Then he said, “Also, thank you God for the pollen even though it makes me sneeze.” Everyone chuckled when he thanked God for the pollen.
This made me realize, however, that we should be thankful for everything. Yes of course, we should be thankful for the good in life, but also the trials and even the small inconveniences in life such as pollen.
The past week, Isaac had been overwhelmed with excitement and would constantly remind us that he was getting baptized on Sunday. He left us no doubt; he was excited to share his faith with the world. He wanted to show others just how much Jesus loves him. I was so happy for him. As the hour of his baptism approached, it struck me just how much I admire this little guy. Throughout his life, he had every reason why not to trust in God, so many reasons to say, “No. I don’t believe in Him.” But the awesome thing is that not once have I heard him get mad at God for the trials or inconveniences.
The truth is that I look up to Isaac. He has truly shown me what it means to be a follower of Christ. I cried tears of joy as I watched him smile as he was being baptized and as I loved on him when he returned to our pew afterwards.
When I thought my tears of joy had stopped, we then began singing “Forever Reign.” I was overcome with emotions when we sang these words:
You are more
You are more
Than my words will ever say
You are Lord
You are Lord
All creation will proclaim
You are here
You are here
In your presence I’m made whole
You are God
You are God
Of all else I’m letting go
Oh, I’m running to Your arms
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign
My heart will sing
No other name
I know that I don’t always live out my faith as I should, but if this experience has shown me anything, if it has emphasized anything, it’s that, like Isaac, I should not have any hesitation in proclaiming His name to the world. I should be thankful for both the good and the bad. I should trust that God has a plan for each of our lives. Therefore, may I let go of everything holding me back in my faith, may I run into the Lord’s loving arms, and may my heart sing no other name than Jesus, Jesus!
Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
I pray that I never forget that God’s presence is always with me, that no circumstance deters me away from that fact, and that I always overflow with joy in knowing that God watches over me and cares for me beyond what words can say. If Isaac has taught me anything, it’s that in everything we do, we should strive to constantly be on fire for Jesus.
So Lord, let my faith be one like Isaac’s, one that constantly has my heart overflowing with joy for You!
Hillsong Live. Forever Reign. By Jason Ingram and Reuben Morgan, 2010. AZLyrics. Web. 27. Apr. 2015.
New International Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 27 Apr. 2015.
Forever Reign by Hillsong Live
Glory by Phil Wickham