Most of us know what it’s like to go through seasons of struggle. Financial struggle, relational struggle, spiritual or physical struggle, and any other kind of struggle you can think of. Those who have been anywhere around my life since the end of October 2013 knows I’ve been “STEE-rugglin’.” I’m not a typically sick person. Even my mom reminded me of how I never got sick as a child. But, for some reason, the past 4 months have been a battle week-to-week and sometimes day-to-day to stay well.
Bronchitis, pneumonia, a viral infection, and all three at the same time; you never really realize how much you take something like breathing for granted until you can’t do it how you’re supposed to. The worst part about the whole thing is feeling well and thinking you have it beat, just to feel super horrible again two or three days later. I would make deals with God while I was sick much like I used to when I would drink and do drugs back in the day. I would have a “bad experience” and I would begin to negotiate, “God, if you get me out of this, I promise I won’t ever drink or do ‘this’ again.” Surely I’m not the only one who’s done this. What usually happens after that? You’re “good” for a week or two or maybe more and then, BAM! You’re back in the same spot making the same deal and hoping you’re able to pull through.
I did this while I was sick. I would say, “God, help me feel better and I will start eating better, exercising, taking vitamins, whatever I gotta do.” What happens after that? I pull through, start feeling better, but I wouldn’t make a change. That was until a couple of Fridays ago. I woke up around 3:00 am or so and couldn’t get back to sleep. Feeling horrible, I got out of bed and started pacing through my basement praying. Before I knew it, I was crying and just having this amazing conversation with God. He was telling me that He wasn’t interested in my “deals.” He just wanted me to draw closer to Him and drawing closer to Him would bring about the changes that I need to make for the sake of my health. That was the whole point and I felt so stupid for not realizing it sooner. He just wanted me to draw closer to Him in my time of need, but instead I’m trying to “make deals” with God.
Are there changes that need to be made? Absolutely! Jesus didn’t die so that any of us would remain the same. I am encouraged by the fact that after all this time God is still growing me, changing me, and maturing me. Growing in Christ is a process. None of us went to bed children and woke up the next day as adults. It takes time and God can use seasons of struggle to help grow us into the people He created us to be. As I was reminded just recently, we have to draw near to Him.