This I Believe…
I believe in the power, might, and strength of the Living God. In this fast-paced, self-absorbed, unpredictable world we live in, there are few things anyone can depend on—jobs often change unexpectedly, many first marriages fail in divorce, and wars against faith and freedom ravage lives every day. So one must look elsewhere to find meaning in this life; and I believe that meaning comes only from God Almighty—the Alpha, the Omega, the Rock, our Fortress, the one who loved us so much that he was willing to send his son to die to give us life. In the midst of evil and hatred, God reigns sovereign, offering refuge to all who call on him.
I remember last year, when I truly experienced God’s strength first hand, and how it changed my spiritual life. One of my dear high school friends grew up in a non-practicing Jewish family, her mom and dad continuing the tradition of generations before. But deep down inside her, she yearned for something more than tradition, something more than going through the motions. In our daily conversations, Beth we’ll call her, began to express that yearning to me, asking about why I believed what I believed, and how she could find that hope I possess. So, I told her. From my heart, I expressed to Beth the free life that I find every day in my relationship with Jesus Christ. The journey began. On a daily bases, Beth continued to ask questions, and we dug deeper together into God’s word, asking the Holy Spirit to unleash its power in her life; and indeed it did. Over the course of a few weeks, Rachel began to attend youth group at our church and her passion to know God deepened. A support group formed around her, and eventually, on October 5, 2006 in a Rudino’s dining room, Beth accepted Christ, inviting to be the Lord of her life. My heart filled with joy in knowing that Beth found the purpose of life—to know and follow after the God of the universe. In that moment of joy though, Satan tried to regain his slipping foothold. The phone rang—Beth’s parents yelled at her in a sharp tone, ordering her to get home ASAP. I knew at that instant that Beth’s walk with the Lord would be much harder than most, and that would be an understatement. To make a long story short, Beth returned to a home that afternoon where her two parents would persecute her deeply for her interest in Christianity. From a scarring insult deep insult to Christianity, to taking her cell phone, car, and right to see or talk to me away, Beth’s parents scrambled to take away the hope Beth had somehow acquired—the hope which went against family tradition, and which they never knew. I remember sitting on the couch one afternoon in the heat of this persecution and weeping my heart out to God, asking how he could allow Beth to go through that struggle. I found peace and power in God’s word according to II Corinthians 12: 10: That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Rachel and I shared in this verse together at school the next day in the few minutes we saw each other by the lockers before class; but above all, we shared in the power of the Holy Spirit—the power to overcome the persecution with hope and courage.
Today, Rachel continues to grow in her faith, despite continuous threats and insults from her parents, who have struggled to come to terms with her Christianity. I respect them for their beliefs, but am broken-hearted over their treatment of their own child. As I look forward into the future, I believe and know that the same power of Almighty God that brought Rachel to this point, will bring her into eventual eternity with, along with all those who cry out his name. This I believe.
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