This is a guest post from Anna-Simone Meshreky - a biology student with a minor in neuroscience and writing at Framingham State University. Anna-Simone is also a proud member of St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox church in Boston, MA. In today's post, she shares a touching story about one of the "storms" of life that she went through recently and the lesson she learned from it. If you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
Every time I go through a difficult situation, I listen to the song “Praise You in This Storm” by Casting Crowns. I always avidly recite the lyrics as if I actually mean what I’m saying. But I’ve come to realize that I really haven’t been praising God in the midst of storms. I’ve been mostly crying out for help, but not really praising.
I realized this because of a certain event that recently occurred. I was praying to God to reveal His will to me regarding something in my life. Although I told God that I only wanted His will, I don’t think I really meant it. What kept me close to God is that I believed His will matched mine exactly. I was so happy about this, and I kept praying about it thinking it was actually going to happen.
Then one day, out of nowhere, what I thought was God’s will perfectly coinciding with mine, turned out to be not His will at all. I was devastated. I couldn’t believe or understand why God had taken something I thought He wanted for me out of my life all of the sudden. Especially since I was praying about it so much and it seemed like it was right. I was confused and hurt, and to be honest, I was very upset at God.
I didn’t outwardly admit to God that I was upset at Him, I just stopped talking to Him. I made excuses that I was too busy or tired to pray at night. Or even that spending time with friends or family would be more efficient for helping me get over that situation instead of clinging to God.
I eventually found myself feeling lonely and anxious for no apparent reason. I had all of these fears instilled within me that I could not determine the root of. The more I deviated from the Lord, the more I felt as though I was dying inside.
Being a deep thinker, I tried to understand why I was feeling this way. I understood that I was being convicted by the Holy Spirit which I had worked on building a relationship with in the past, but I wanted to really understand why I was having these feelings of hurt. It occurred to me that I was actually hurting God by abandoning him all of the sudden.
It didn’t make sense to me. God is spirit, how can He still get hurt as a result of my sins? Didn’t that already happen when He came and died for me? I didn’t understand that the suffering He endured on the cross is ultimately the amount of pain He feels when His children, those He loves an indescribable amount, abandon Him and leave His warmth to enter into a dangerous life of darkness.
He’s our Father and when He is separated from His beloved children because they sin, He feels agony because they are no longer dwelling with Him. He desires to be with His children at all times, to spend time with them, to take care of them. He is Holy and cannot cohabitate with sin. That is why we are separated from Him when we commit sins, that’s why it hurts Him so much.
God doesn’t want our destruction, He doesn’t look at sins we commit and judge us harshly. He looks at our sins and instead is deeply hurt that His children are separated from Him. The pain I had felt inside now made sense to me.
The Holy Spirit is God dwelling within us - so if He’s hurt and I have His Spirit dwelling within me, wouldn’t it make sense that I would feel that hurt as well? When I would come home from a long day at school and walk by the living room where my mom always has “CTV” playing, and I hear hymns I would always enjoy listening to when I was closer to God, I feel as though my soul yearns for it.
When I abandon the Lord, I become a vagabond. I feel as though I am in a completely foreign land. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling and it’s miserable. I realized that I had left my love, my home, my comfort, my identity. This wouldn’t have happened if I praised God through the storm I was in. When I found my way back home I felt safe and okay again.
I realized something very important that I personally needed to work on- and that’s showing unconditional loyalty to God no matter what happens in life. Even if something turns out the way you don’t want it to, clinging to God is the most efficient way to get out of a bad situation. Deviating from the Lord because he didn’t give you what you wanted is not going to result in any good. He wants nothing but the best for you. Whatever occurs in your life, good or bad, is ultimately for your own benefit.
No matter what, always praise the Lord - through the good and the bad. He will always have your best interest at heart, just trust in Him… He won’t let you down.