When I Lost Hope

BFEC06F9-36EF-4F3A-A911-788FC3FA236E.JPG

 

There have been many miracles in my life that God has provided for me in regards to finances, people, job opportunities, and much more. God has always taken care of me in one way or another. There is one miracle in particular I want to share with you not many know about.

One day at school, during my sophomore year of high school, a friend of mine was experiencing chest pains. He was mentioning to his teachers how he was experiencing pain and wasn’t quite sure what it was. A couple of hours later, he collapsed to the ground from a heart attack. I watched as the EMTs attended to him, placed him on a stretcher, and rushed him off to the hospital. Not sure if he was going to live or not, I was sick with worry. As I sat with my friends during lunch, I wasn’t able to focus on eating or any of their conversations. I was there physically, but not mentally. After a few minutes of sitting there in fear for my friend, I picked up my stuff and left without a word.

Later that day I got news he was alive and would return to school once he was healthy again. Even though my friend was going to be alright, the enemy began to build an extreme fear for my own life within me. This fear grew so strong that it got to the point where I was unable to function correctly. I would go to school, sit in class, and leave at the end of the day without being able to recall anything my teachers said. During the entire class period of every single class, I sat in fear thinking these exact words, “God, please don’t let me have a heart attack. God, please don’t let me have a heart attack. God, please don’t let me have a heart attack.” I am not exaggerating when I say those thoughts were on repeat, going a million miles an hour, all day every day. Any chest pain I experienced caused me to be afraid it would result in a heart attack. I made sure not to move too much or too fast as I went through my day in order to not cause a heart attack. None of my friends or family knew I was shackled with this fear because my goal was to hide it from everyone. I didn't want anyone to know.

I remember a specific moment during this time of fear and anxiety that took place in my bedroom alone. As I sat on the floor in the fetal position, I thought to myself, “This is it. Anytime I experience any kind of chest pain, I am going to be afraid it will result in a heart attack. I am going to live with this extreme anxiety for the rest of my life.” I remember those thoughts as if it were yesterday. 16-year-old me believed life and any hope of a future was gone. I was convinced I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy anything from that moment on. Forget any dreams I had of traveling, having a good career, getting married, having a family, or anything of that nature. Life was over for me. Or so I thought.

After a couple of weeks with this incredible fear, my church announced a conference our youth group would be attending that weekend. I was wanting to go, however, I wasn't able to afford it. So, I told my youth pastors I wasn't going to make it. The day of the conference came and it was about an hour before the service started when my youth pastor called. He said, “Hey, we were just handed an extra pass for the conference and you were the first name to pop into my head. If you can make it down here in time, you are more then welcome to have the pass!” Excited, I hopped into the car and drove to the conference. 

The worship was awesome and the guest speaker had a great message, though I didn’t really connect with any of it. The speaker held an alter call and a bunch of people responded, but it wasn’t relevant to me, so I was basically waiting for the service to end. Right in the middle of praying, the speaker paused. He said, “What I’m about to say doesn’t have any relevance to what I preached on or what this alter call is about, but it hits close to home so I want to share it. I don’t want to point this person out, but there is a young girl in this section of chairs.” As he spoke those words, he gestured to the general section of chairs I was standing in. At that point, my heart was pounding like no ones business. He continued, “Young girl, you are experiencing chest pains, you don’t know what it is, and it is making you afraid. I just want to let you know that tonight, the Lord has set you free!” I don’t remember anything he said after that because I knew he was talking to me. I was so overwhelmed with God and what He was doing for me at that very moment. God healed me right then and there. That was not a fear I was going to grow out of and eventually forget about. I needed a miracle and God provided. From that moment on, I was set free from that anxiety. Even to this day, I have yet to experience an ounce of fear due to chest pains. 

It says in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Anxiety is not life and it is definitely not life abundantly. Therefore, life with anxiety is not of God. Life with sickness is not of God. Life with sadness, depression, anger, resentment, loneliness, poverty, fear, death, or whatever we may face, is NOT OF GOD. It is of the enemy. God comes to give us life. THAT is His will for us. The enemy wants us to believe we have to endure those struggles, that they are our crosses to bear, and that we must accept them and move on. However, it says in Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying,” and in Romans 8:37 it says, “No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us.” With God on our side, all things are possible. 

With whatever you are experiencing or will experience, know there is hope! I say that in confidence with my fist raised in the air that God is greater than he who lives in this world (1 John 4:4). Even if it feels hopeless and that your situation is too big for any kind of miracle to take place or you don't even believe in miracles, know I felt the same way. Don’t give up. Ask God to give you strength. Seek encouragement and prayer from others because where two or three are gathered, He is there (Matthew 18:20). I promise you, the second you begin to seek after God, He will run towards you with open arms. He wants the best for you, your family, and your friends. Don’t give up. God is hope!

 

Listen to “Miracles (feat. Chris Quilala)” by Jesus Culture and “Break Every Chain (Live)” by Tasha Cobbs Leonard.

Valerie ParrishComment