My journey as a Christian has been full of ups and downs, laughter and tears, pleasant times and difficult moments, the lovely joy experienced through achievements of family members, and the physical exhaustion from work while raising four children.
I grew up with godly parents who loved Jesus and brought us all up in the fear of the Lord. I became a Christian at an early age and everything was good, although I did get distracted by other things at certain points in my walk with God. My desire has always been to know Him and through the years I have prayed that God would change me and use me as He pleases. Praise the Lord who hears and answers our prayers even though the answers may not come the way we expect! They are always for our good because God knows what we need. I remember praying a few years ago – a prayer surrendering all to God and asking Him to refine and purify me as gold. This was after reading Malachi 3:2-3 which says…
“But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord.”
Shortly after that prayer, things started to go ‘wrong’. My family and I began to experience one challenging situation after another – with each new challenge being greater than the last – but God’s word gave us hope and strength until He gave us amazing victory! Scripture verses that I had read a long time ago kept coming to mind at specific moments of need, bringing comfort and encouragement. During that time I was expecting some rest, but my world suddenly became dark. Even so, I knew He was there. All I could do was turn to Him to provide all the support I needed. It was after that period of what seemed like total darkness that God’s light gradually began to shine through and I got to know Him as “my light and my salvation” (Psalm 27 :1).
Looking back, I can now say that I am thankful for everything – especially the challenging experiences – because with each challenge came a new revelation of God. So many things in me that I never knew were there came to the surface as a result, and I am slowly being changed as I hand them over to Him. I am amazed at the way the Lord has brought deliverance and resolved each problem. He is indeed a very present help in time of need. I am beginning to understand how God has used some of the difficult situations that have come my way for His purposes. I heard a lot about God, what He did and what He is able to do, in my younger days and I did totally believe. But now I know Him through experience and I have come to understand that Isaiah 43:1-2 is true:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned.
I know that belonging to God does not shield me from suffering or hardship but it means that I cannot be overpowered by them because He will always be with me. I am learning to be still and allow Him to be God – to totally depend on Him for all things and in all things.
Deuteronomy chapter 8 teaches us that God led the children of Israel through the wilderness even though there was a shorter way to get to the promised land. This was because there were so many things He wanted them to learn. He wanted to humble them, to reveal what was hidden in their hearts through testing so that He might do them good in the end. God is interested in our hearts.
The journey through the wilderness is a separation process where you are taken away from the crowd and your familiar environment or lifestyle. On this difficult path set out for you alone, where you encounter challenges that you can do nothing about, His aim is to make you into His holy habitation. It can be a lonely path and painful sometimes, but it leads to life and peace. When you can find no way out of any problem on the way, call to Him and wait patiently because He will answer. It is a journey where you discover yourself, find God and learn to totally depend on Him as the reality dawns on you that without Him you can do nothing.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 says this:
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.“
Hallelujah! His power lives in us and we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us!
It’s a journey where you realise that it is not about you and so you learn to let go of your ideas, rights and dreams as you embrace God’s instead. You become more at peace even in the midst of chaos, you experience His joy regardless of your circumstances, you begin to lose more of yourself as you find your identity in God and start to look more like Him. On the journey you get to see and know God more, falling in love with Him as you behold His beauty and receive His love. To be called by God and led by His Spirit is the most amazing adventure any person can experience! I am honoured to be on this exciting adventure with my Lord. I might not see what lies ahead but my trust is in Him as I know that I am deeply loved and will never ever be alone.
“Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you.” (Isaiah 46:4)
Written by Lynda Dalgana
Lynda is married to Benjamin and they have been blessed with four kids – David, Michael, Miriam & Martha. She lives in Aberdeen and attends City Church St Machar. She is currently studying mental health nursing at Robert Gordon University.