A Lesson from Sorrow by Guest Author, Celli Bryan
On January 1, 2014, just minutes after midnight, I was scrolling on Facebook® reading through my friends’ “Happy New Year” greetings when I stopped on one very optimistic well-wisher that had posted something like this: “2014 will be your best year yet.”
Something within me cringed, and I remember thinking, “Maybe not.”
So I posted, “Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand, but I know Who holds tomorrow, and I know Who holds my hand.”
Five days later, my world turned completely upside down. The breath was totally knocked out of me, and I felt as if I would die. I discovered the most devastating news of my life. There are no words to describe what I felt. How to face something of this magnitude was beyond my comprehension. It was real and my life has been changed forever.
I found myself in a place that I had not chosen. I didn’t put myself here and never would, so why was I here? It just didn’t seem fair, but over the last several years God has taught me more through this devastating circumstance than all my years prior. I am thankful to God that I had His Word planted in my mind and heart because it has been through this trial that God took my knowledge and brought it to experience.
I have learned that I truly do believe God’s Word because it has been put to the test in my life and It hasn’t failed me once. I can say with David in Psalm 119:71 & 72, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statues. The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.”
God allowed this terrible thing in my life to draw me closer to Him. Hebrews 13:5 & 6 have never been more real to me. “…for He Himself has said, ‘I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,’ so that we confidently say, ‘THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID.’” God has been so near to me.
Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” I was brokenhearted and my spirit was crushed, BUT GOD was near, so near I could feel Him holding my spirit within. No human can comfort us the way God can. No human is able to touch my spirit, but God does. I have never before experienced this intimacy with Christ as I have these last few years.
“But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;” Psalm 73:28.
This has led to a desire of more of Him and less of me and this world. My worship is more pure and my prayer life and Bible reading has grown both deeper and longer, for my most favorite time of the day is early in the morning when my Savior and I are alone together. I say with David, “In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to you and eagerly watch” Psalm 5:3.
Another reason God allowed this to happen to me was to increase my faith in Him while I learn to wait for Him. “For I hope in You, O LORD; you will answer, O Lord my God” Psalm 38:15. “My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him” Psalm 28:7. “Those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame” Isaiah 49:23 (emphasis mine). Psalm 27:13 & 14, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the LORD.” “The LORD is good to those who wait for Him” Lamentations 3:25.
God drew me to Himself and began to increase my faith and teach me how to patiently wait for Him while teaching me He is “Wonderful Counselor.” “Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day” Psalm 25:5. “With Your counsel You will guide me,” Psalm 73:24. “Your testimonies also are my delight; they are my counselors” Psalm 119:24. “I will bless the LORD who has counseled me; indeed, my mind instructs me in the night” Psalm 16:7. “Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name” Psalm 86:11.
The year 2014 was my most difficult year yet. I walked through paths I never dreamed possible for my life. But that is just it….I walked through, one step at a time, I walked through, and I continue to walk, hand in hand with my Savior.
I stand firm on Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
I can claim this promise because I know I love God and I have been called. All things that come to my life are not good, but Almighty God works in His sovereignty causing all things, the good, the bad, and the ugly, to work together for good in me. Years later, through all the lessons I have learned, I realize more than ever I have so much more to learn.
So dear friend, whether this year turns out to be your best or worst year, I pray you will cling to the Savior, for HE WILL carry you through and you will say, “It is well with my soul.”
All Scripture is from the NASB.
Celli loves Christ, her family, and her church. She has two grown children, and a wonderful husband. They would all say that she is passionate about giving hope to the lost and encouragement to other believers. I know she has blessed me first hand in this.
Celli has taught elementary school for 18 years, and is currently working on a Master's degree. She has published one book,"Speaking to Yourselves in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs."