I was blessed to grow up in a Christian family. From a young age I learnt about God’s goodness and what Jesus did. As I became older I discovered that knowing about God wasn’t enough to save me. Although I didn’t have to do anything physical to be saved, I had to trust God and give control of my life to him. I still wanted to be in charge and sought glory for myself though, so I limited God to Sundays and did what I wanted with the rest of my week.
That was until two and a half years ago. I heard again the simple truths of Christianity while helping at the Holiday bible club here and knew I needed a personal relationship with God, for God is the one who always loves me despite my rejection of him. The summer just after, I went on a Christian camp. I didn’t enjoy it but didn’t know why. Then on my family holiday we took a train journey with people I didn’t know and I realised that I worried about what people thought of me all the time. My attempts to create an image of myself as mentally strong and independent weren’t enough. I didn’t feel contented and I saw that in my own strength I could never find an identity where I wouldn’t fear what others thought of me. I couldn’t rely on my own strength to live. I needed something bigger than myself to depend on and heal my brokenness.
As I listened to the sermons here in 2 Corinthians later that year I was struck by Paul telling how his strength was insufficient but that he could trust God to give him everything he needed. I knew this was what I wanted and needed because my sinful nature was the cause for everything I felt was wrong. My knowledge of God became a desire to know him and rely on his power. Over time I came to God knowing that the only way to true joy is through Christ and his offer of salvation on the cross.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 have taught me to rejoice in suffering:
‘But [God] said to me, “My Grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 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.’
I thank God that I can know my own inadequacy and weakness because he gives me the strength I need and I can rejoice in knowing his power. Since trusting Christ, I have found other Christians encouraging me that I can be free from fear; I can live to make God known; my ultimate hope is not in this life but in the eternal hope of knowing God in heaven.