This post is written by a Cafe 1040 student.
Romans 5:3-5 says: "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."
Before this trip I always knew this verse and knew what it meant, but I had never truly experienced it. I had never really suffered. But since I have been in South Asia I have lost two people who I deeply loved back at home. I don't know if I could put into words how much losing them hurts and I probably won't ever be able to.
But something amazing happened when I was grieving.
The night I found out that my grandma had passed away I went out on our porch and I just wept because it was all that I knew to do. As I was sitting there though, I felt the presence of Jesus right there with me like I never have before. I know it sounds crazy but I felt His arms around me. He was sitting right there with me, weeping alongside me. He was telling me that he knows it hurts but He is there for me and that is all that I will ever need.
Then a few weeks later I found out that one of my closest friends, who played the biggest role in leading me to Christ, was killed in a tragic accident. I still can't believe I am typing those words but the same thing happened when I found out about my friend. There He was drawing so near to me that I felt as if I could reach out and touch Him and suddenly, the pain was a little easier to walk through.
Now I get that verse. I understand what it means.
I have found that in the moments of suffering, God comes so close to you and comforts you in such an incredible and unimaginable way that you realize that He really is better than anything in life. He really is all that I will ever need.
I also take heart knowing that right now, my grandma and Matthew are experiencing more joy than I could ever imagine. They wouldn't want us to feel sorry for them because they are in pure perfection: no more pain, no more sin and suffering, just perfect uninterrupted fellowship with the Father. This brings me incredible joy, but it also motivates me.
I walk past hundreds of people every day here who have never heard the good news. Looking at the cremations taking place before me, I know their eternity looks much different and that is heartbreaking.
I now know what I want to spend the rest of my life doing.
There are billions of people around the world who have no access to the good news and they never will unless people go to them. I lift that many others respond to this call also and start to see the incredible need that there is all over the world.