In May of 2014, I started this blog. I recently looked back at my first official post talking about what this blog was going to be all about. It’s pretty simple, lots of spelling and grammatical errors, but it was the start of something I would continue to do every week. From that point, a lot of crazy life events happened. Sometimes I wish I could go back and let that kid know about the battles that would be fought and the heartache that would come. I love being able to look back at the past. I never want to linger too much, but it always amazes me at how God has continued to move in my life in all things. I wrote a post in 2015, right at the start of the roller coaster God was going to bring me on. I had faced bullies, church hurt, and feeling un-wanted; but I could not have seen the next chapter in my life. In that same year I would lose two friends, have a family member suffer from addiction, and feel an overwhelming sense of fear about my next steps in life. I started that crazy season with a post about a verse that stuck out to me. I look back not and see just how God moved in the midst of all things.
Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
In that older post, I put my name in the place of the “I” in that scripture. I look back and see how powerful that was in that moment in time, and how much power comes from that. There is a spiritual power in words, it holds the power of life and death. We need to start not only speaking life over others, but in our own lives too. Whatever struggle you face, God can give you the power to make it through. In all things. This verse is often used in stereotypical Christian sports movies, and it kills me. It loses the true power of the verse. This is a verse that was written in a letter to the Christians who were facing horrific moments. Nero was the Roman emperor who would burn Christians in the cities for light, send them to the coliseum to be shredded by lions, and burned most of Rome to blame it on the believers. This wasn’t said to encourage in a sporting event, it was a word spoken to give hope to those who were going to be murdered for their faith. This is true faith in Christ, the hope in all things, no matter how big the odds seem. We have a God that loves and empowers us in all things.
God is good, all the time.
I had a teacher in eighth grade make us each morning stand up, and when she said, “God is good,” we would reply, “all the time.” I was telling that story to Danielle the other day in the car, and it made me think. At the time, I thought it was weird and dumb (forgive me, remember, this is middle school JT), but looking back on it, that is such a powerful thing to begin the day with. In the midst of whatever you may be going through, remind yourself that God is good, all the time. I think when we look at our past, in the midst of all the tragedy and heartache, it brought us to where we are now and allowed us to grow. Was it easy, of course not! I love the scripture in John 16:33 that says, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! For I have overcome the world.” We are going to face hard and difficult days, but in all things, God is still good. We might not always understand it, but the trials we face today, will shape us to be stronger people in our future. Each day we need to wake up and see it as a new opportunity in the midst of our unknowns, and we can do this because God is good, all the time.
You can face the battle.
I currently am facing a big battle. The unknowns about my future are completely out of my control, and what I thought was a clear path, is now muddled and I am not sure how to move forward. I know that sounds vague, but I want to keep it that way for the sake of it all. The thing is, it’s been hard to trust God in all things. That’s why I took a moment to reflect on the past and see how God has already moved in my life and how God used the unlikely to lead me into greater things. God has placed a calling on my life and if I didn’t believe in it, I would have quit back in 2015 on this path into ministry. The thing I am clinging to in this moment of my life, is that God can move in all things and he gives me the power to face the battle. There is a comic book story that I love which takes place in Jonathan Hickman’s run on the Fantastic Four. There’s a moment where the family needs to escape a place called the negative zone (bad place, basically a “space-hellscape”), Johnny Storm, AKA the Human Torch, chooses to hold off the hordes of creatures in order to save the family. The scene I love and feel very much attached to is Johnny standing in front of the demons, terrified as all stating that it’s a billion to one, and screams at the top of his lungs, “Flame on,” then plunges into the battle that may very well be his final moment. We all have times in our lives that feel like we are facing a billion to one odds against us, but in these same moments, we don’t have to be afraid, God gives us the power to face the battle in all things.
This post has been a good time for me to self-reflect on the past four years. God has moved in ways I couldn’t have ever seen coming. I faced death, heartache, and pain; and God was there in all things. Even now as I step into the unknown, God is there in all things. As I walk through hurts and rejection, God is there in all things. As I enter into the next chapters of my life, God will be there in all things. The same is true with all of us, no matter how crazy and difficult life becomes, God is waiting for us to reach out and trust his sovereign ways. God is here, just reach out.
When we choose God, he will give us the strength in all things.