By: Lucy Chavey
I know that you’ve probably heard that “God is real” so many times, but it’s never enough.
We have so much proof and so many reasons why God exists. If you are struggling with belief in God, look around you. Who and what do you see? Beauty? Yes! There may be clouds around you, but even clouds reflect a certain beauty. The people around us are beautifully made. If God does not exist how did all of this come together? What or Who is the source of all our wonderful friendships and the amazing beauty of nature? These questions have only one answer and that is GOD.
Many people struggle with these two specific questions: Why do bad things happen in my life, and why doesn’t God help me? Here are some answers to hopefully help you. Bad things happen because God allows it so that good will come of it. Here is a little example of something that happened in my life. Last summer I applied to be on the service team at Pine Hills Girls Camp. I had my hopes up as high as I could have them. When I heard that I didn’t get in, I admit I was absolutely devastated. Soon after, I texted one of my friends and she told me that she made the service team. At first my thought was, why did she get on and I didn’t? I am outgoing, happy, and I love to serve. To me, of course, I sounded like the perfect candidate. My mom tried to tell me that maybe this was for the better. I didn’t believe her. I later found out that there was a cross- country camp scheduled for the same week of Pine Hills. One of my friends was doing cross- country and she really wanted me to do it with her, so I decided I would go to the camp and see if it would be something I’d like to do. I am so happy that I did. I joined the cross-country team and became friends with so many fantastic people that I never would have met and if I hadn’t gone. God works in so many wonderful ways.
Sometimes we think we need to experience a miracle to believe that God is helping us. But those small, simple blessings that we often don’t pay attention to are God’s gifts. These are simple things, like being able to see your friends, going to school, being alive, playing sports, having family and close friends, living in a house, words of affirmation, a hug, and most importantly being loved! You may not realize how much God is helping you, but He is! We often want things to come to use easily, without any work or effort, but to get our reward, we must work, struggle and sometimes suffer. For example, we don’t suddenly become super smart or amazing athletes. Nothing comes to us without work and suffering. As Christians, our goal is to get to Heaven, and to do that, we must work, embrace suffering, and help others to get to heaven.
Now for the more personal part. When I was young, I was a normal child who went to church, prayed and did everything that I thought I had to do as a Catholic. But looking back, I never really believed in God. There wasn’t anything anyone could do to help me. I acted like I knew everything, because I thought I did. But I didn’t really have a relationship with God. And if I’m being completely honest, I didn’t really try to get closer to Him.
Two years ago, I was going into my freshman year of high school and I was praying with a group of girls. As I was praying I was also thinking, “I really don’t believe in God”. None of it made any sense. I was questioning the bible, the Mass, and in some sense the people around me and what they were saying to me about God. I was also going through a time where I was very depressed and I hated life. I finally decided to take up the responsibility and try and find God. I prayed and prayed for Him to come into my life and to let me know that He existed. I wanted so badly to know Him. It took me a while to believe that He would come to me, and to have my heart open. When I was young, even though I said my heart was open, it really was not. Saying things doesn’t always mean that it’s true. It is so important that when we want something from God, to be open—to everything and all possibilities. Ask God to show you a sign, or bring someone to you, so that you may see the light. Be patient and keep seeking, it took me two full years before I started loving life and realized that my life was worth living for, and most importantly, I realized that God really existed.
A few months ago, I went to this conference at a nearby church. It was a fantastic experience and I loved it. As I was praying, I asked God to show me a sign that He really existed. I got one. As I prayed I rested in the Spirit, and after I had awakened, there was Jesus, hanging from the cross looking down at me. Before I was fully alert, as I was slowly opening my eyes I caught a glimpse of heaven. It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. I can’t even describe it, it was so beautiful. I looked up pictures on the internet to see if I could describe it to you but there was nothing that even came close. It was FANTASTIC!! In some ways, I felt like God was showing me that He existed, but I also felt like He was showing me that I must suffer before I get my reward. Ever since then, my life has changed and it’s for the better. For a while, I wasn’t telling others, because I didn’t want them to know and I wasn’t sure of their reactions. I felt like it was only supposed to be between me and God. But then I thought, if God showed me something like that, I should tell people because it might help them know God too!