An arena of 20,000, completely silent. Each individual fighting for control of their thoughts to journey to the mountain-top, into the presence of God.
Eyes closed, hearts moving.
Sitting in my little seat in section 115, I began to visualize myself, struggling to carry up the mountain everything that was currently weighing me down. I reached the top, feeling defeated.
It was January 3, two days before spring semester began. Here I was, attending Passion Conference, dreading returning to school.
God, don’t you see? What am I going to do? Who are my people going to be? What do I have to go back to? Do you see me? Me and my loneliness? What should I be doing differently?
As I unloaded on Him, I heard Him speak to me.
“I have something for you.”
For some, that promise may seem meaningless. But for me, it brought such peace.
I have something for you. It’s not about what you do, but what I do, what I have to give to you.
Recognize this loneliness as a gift. A gift to dive into me; to find the quiet and solitude. Start meditating on me, devoting your thoughts to me, loving me more, before all of your actions.
I returned to that promise again and again over the past few months, asking God, “When will I see this something? What is the something? Friends? Peace? A ministry I connect with?”
It wasn’t until today that I got it. On the hour and 15 minute car drive back to Atlanta, listening to a Ben Stuart podcast, it clicked.
The topic was joy in pain – James 1.
Stuart said that often we want to find the meaning of our pain – why am I going through this particular suffering in my life?
But here’s the thing – God’s desire for your pain is not that you find meaning, but that you ultimately find God – in a new way or for the first time.
“God says, ‘I’m not going to give you a reason to cling to, but I’m going to give you me.’”
That something? I clung to it, fretted over whether or not it was actually nothing. In a way, I demanded to see it from God – He promised it to me, didn’t he? I understood that the pain was a gift to help me pursue God more, but I still wanted the tangible something.
But today, all of a sudden, my eyes were opened – the something was God.
While I’m still working through all the pain, emotions, struggles of the past 9 months, through it all I’ve gotten to know God better and in a unique and different way.
I got God in my pain. And that, that brings me joy.