I never expected to be happy. The pains of my childhood led me to believe that happiness wasn’t an option for me. I had concluded that life was hopeless and full of pain and death was inevitable. I was 10 when death came knocking at my door and I truly considered opening it. Soon enough, death became a constant companion. Always there. Telling me that life was hopeless. Telling me that there was no point in continuing on. That there was only death.
And then one day God showed up. He told me that he created me, that he loved me, and that he would never let me go. And it was that day that I met Life.
Christ came to me and He told me to follow Him. A man who was beaten, shamed, and murdered. A man who died. A man who was resurrected three days later. A man who is Life. He called me to follow him to death, but also to life.
Death in all of his cunning ways had twisted truth – death does exist, and through death in Christ there is life. This death was unlike the death that followed me throughout my childhood and adolescence. This new death could transform, build up, and redeem.
And then I learned that joy existed too. That Death in all of his cunning ways had twisted truth once again – sure, happiness in the shallow sense wasn’t available to me at all times — but he never mentioned joy, because joy comes from God and it is truly everlasting.
Now I am not denying the existence of pain and suffering. I feel it. I see it. I am not blinded. Yet there is joy. So much joy in this world to be had and it can come out of this suffering.
The Apostle Peter said, “But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:13).
Only God can turn suffering and death into something beautiful and life giving. I cannot explain it, but I’ve experienced time and time again and I am so utterly thankful for the death that I’ve experienced these past eight years of being a Christian. I will rejoice in the suffering because I am not alone in the suffering – Christ is there, my constant friend and Lord.