I was recently watching a show that was interviewing Gracia Burnham, the missionary who was held captive with her husband for over a year by Muslim extremists. Her husband ended up dying in the midst of their rescue and Gracia made it out alive. She endured more hardships than many of us will ever know and yet she has the most amazing faith and optimism. Here is the quote from the show that spoke to me the most, “I hope that experience wasn’t wasted.
Wouldn’t that have been horrible not to have learned anything after that year in the jungle? I hope I am who I am supposed to be.”
Wow, after a year of literally going through hell, this woman is concerned with what she can take from her experience and hoping that she has grown and changed because of it. This got me thinking of my own jungle journey that doesn’t even pale in comparison to Gracia’s journey.
Like Gracia’s journey, my journey through this addiction has been painful, long, hopeless at times, caused me to question my own strength and has caused me to question God’s purposes. I have found myself so frustrated at the fact that the more I try to change my circumstances and become free of this addiction, the more frustrating and unsuccessful I become. Why is that? I literally find myself crying out to God in hopes that He will rescue me and yet I still find myself in the jungle, feeling so thirsty and alone.
Here is what I am finding as I search for an answer to that question: I cannot do anything on my own will power. I am not the one who controls my life. The good news is that I know the One who has control and who wants to help. I am finding that in my moments of complete weakness and wanting to give in, God invites me in to experience His grace and to rest in the fact that it truly is going to be okay.
The Message paraphrases 2 Corinthians 12:9 so perfectly, “My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”
God has all the grace and strength we need to get out of our jungles and successfully say that we are all we are supposed to be and that we have learned and been refined through the fire.
What can you say that you have learned through your own struggle? What lessons can you take with you that will last a lifetime? What is God teaching you? I am finding that in the most painful and challenging times, I learn the most. If this journey was an easy one, we wouldn’t be learning and growing as we go on. I am thankful that God doesn’t waste my own brokenness. The one thing that I have learned in the last few years is that God doesn’t lie and He shows up to rescue me when I am in the need of Him the most. It may not seem like He cares or that He wants to help but that is a lie from the pit of hell. If He didn’t want to help you and I through our journeys, we would be way more broken than we already are.
Even if you feel like you are in the worst, lowest spot possible in this fight please know that God and His grace are right there waiting for you to respond. Jesus is anxiously waiting to hear you say, “Help, come now”. He may not completely remove you from your jungle but He will help. Only He knows the perfect timing of your journey and when your rescue will happen.