This week, I want to share with you a video from the New Beginnings church in Portland, OR, where I shared several testimonies from my life about how God turns everything to the good in the life of those who love God and whom He has chosen according to His purpose. It deeply surprised me when I noticed for the first time that experiences that seemed bad to me were actually for my benefit. And now, 15 years since that time, I see this in my life as a law. The Lord never ceases to amaze me! And so, by sharing this, I want to encourage you.
Romans 8:28 NKJV: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
As I was in the process of restoring my life after the car accident, so many times hopelessness was staring at me with its cold gaze. There were so many difficulties and problems! There were days and even years when it seemed to me that the Lord did not hear my prayers. I knew that He saw what I was experiencing, but I could not understand why there were no answers to some of my prayers, why the Lord was silent.
There were times when I told the Lord that He misunderstood me – this was not what I wanted. 🙂 From time to time, I just couldn’t understand what God was doing in my life. Many times I stood before my Lord in tears, asking Him: “Why, Lord? Why am I going through this, why this had to happen?”
And then, I would say to Him: “No matter what happens, I trust you, Lord. I know that you see everything, and you are a just God, and you know much better what’s good for me. Please give me the strength to get through this time.” And I would pull myself together and continued making every effort in everything I worked on, and patiently waited for what would happen next.
Interestingly, after my prayer, my circumstances did not change immediately, but I received inner strength to withstand the hardships and felt my enthusiasm and boldness increased. I had the endurance to persevere and attain my goals and improve my situation. At times it took me enormous effort to make the smallest step. Nevertheless, I continued making step after step, no matter how difficult it was. And I kept on going, despite the length of my desert and the storms that I had to endure. I kept on going until I reached my vision.
And what an amazing revelation it was to see that everything — including hard times, trials, difficulties and even destruction and even my mistakes — all worked together for good, as it is written in the Bible in Romans 8:28!
It was the fourth year after the accident when I first noticed it. I was already in California. I was outside, enjoying the sunny weather. Wearing my comfortable prosthetic legs, I reflected on my life, being deeply in awe of how incredibly my circumstances changed. When I thought about the sequence of events and how they affected my life, suddenly I realized – I would not have the blessing that I had if I had received the answer to my prayers when I wanted and how I wanted it!
I clearly saw that it was my pain, combined with the deep disappointment that made me look for help internationally. Not having received the help from local specialists, on the Internet I began to look for help in other countries. So it turns out that I would not have looked for help and I would not have met an American prosthetics specialist if it were not for that unbearable pain and hopelessness! It turns out that disappointment and despair indeed worked for the better.
During those two years, at times I would say to God in prayer, “Lord, I trust you so wholeheartedly. Why do you not answer my prayers? Why are You silent?” It seemed to me that God did not hear my prayers and did not give any answers. But it turns out that the Lord did hear me and He was already answering, I just did not know it. His answer to my request and my dream came to me in a different way and at a different time than I wanted. The Lord had a much more beautiful plan for my life, and He was fulfilling it. It was a plan that I could not even imagine in my dreams!
Moreover, the most interesting thing is that the hopelessness and my relentless perseverance to find a way and wait for the answer from the Lord brought me from Europe to sunny California – the place that had a perfect climate and fully accessible environment for people in wheelchairs! It brought me across the globe from not accessible environment to a fully accessible place, where I could become independent again and live a full life! God had a plan for my life, a plan to restore my life after the car accident, and His plan was so much better than mine.
It was the first time I saw the value in hardship, pain, and despair. Frankly, it was quite unusual and hard to admit it. However, I was sincerely grateful for those dark years of hard work and countless hours of intense training, learning to walk with artificial limbs that left me exhausted, with bruises, wounds, and swollen thighs. I felt grateful for the disappointment and hopelessness because that’s the reason I began making radical changes in the way I approached my goal, and begin seeking help at the international level. And so, my dream came true and now I was in a country where I could live a full life.
After realizing that difficulties and pain were for my benefit, I began to pay close attention to what was happening behind the events and circumstances, and where they ultimately led me. Instead of focusing on how painful and difficult it was, I began to observe what was behind these difficulties. And, again and again I saw that the events that occurred, people I’ve met, and various experiences that took place played a key role in my life, and, to my surprise, all of this really somehow worked together for good. More interestingly, particularly those events that seemed destructive or times that seemed like endless valleys of difficulties, led me to my ultimate dream. Even my mistakes had a precious value in my life.
Even though it was very difficult to go through some periods of life, they left a very valuable imprint on my life. Through difficulties and circumstances that seemed absolutely hopeless, the Lord taught me to trust Him. When it seemed to me that I was at a dead end and that there was no way out, the Lord showed me that absolutely everything is under His authority – He has people’s hearts and creates new opportunities, even if it seems impossible. Although it was very difficult to experience hopelessness, today I am sincerely grateful for it because it showed me how the Lord is always there with you in the midst of it and He creates a way out; He is never late and provides help. Difficulties and hopelessness taught me to fully trust God.
Now I see problems as another opportunity to see how great the Lord is, the opportunity to experience another testimony. And the harder the problem is, the bigger and more interesting the testimony will be!
I want to make a note on very important detail – God is faithful, and He will do what He says, but we also have a great responsibility for what happens in our lives. God has His good, acceptable and perfect will for our lives (Romans 12: 2), but the Lord has given us the freedom of choice, and very much depends on our choices.
Since this is a big topic, I will post about it next week. And, for now, if you are experiencing struggle and nothing changes no matter how much you pray about your difficulties, be encouraged and hold on to your hope through faith. You do not know what God is doing in your life, and where He is leading you. Certain events have a significant impact on our lives, and yes, it’s scary when bad things happen. Events and circumstances have the power to shape our destiny, and this can cause concern and anxiety when they do not develop in the way we expected. We feel and see only what we experience at the moment. This is where your faith must step in – walk by faith, and not by what is actually happening at the moment.
2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV: For we walk by faith, not by sight.
Trust your God that He is just and sees everything. Sometimes God does not change our situation because He changes us. Sometimes difficulties and certain circumstances direct our path in the certain direction which is according to His will. Nothing in our lives happen ‘just because’. There is a reason and a purpose behind everything. It is critically important for us to be obedient to God, to the way He leads us. Sometimes you have to completely trust Him, do nothing and wait. And sometimes you have to be strong and persistent.
Keep going. Be sure to do your best in everything you are working on, and patiently wait for the answer from the Lord.
See you next time!