“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity .”~ Albert Einstein~
The week before my baptism in September of 1998 I decided that there were two people that I needed to ask forgiveness of before my big day. One was an uncle who was a staunch Catholic as was most of my family. I called and apologized to him. One might expect that this call would have ended on a happy note as he readily forgave me but it didn’t. By the time I hung up the tears streaming down my face were not those of joy.
My uncle’s comment to me on my baptism was that he understood my situation at home was not perfect but that was no reason to be jumping from church to church. You see I grew up and made First Communion in the Catholic faith but later attended a Seventh Day Adventist Church for about a year as my mother had gotten baptized into this faith. We stopped attending when I was about 9 or 10. I did not attend any church for the next couple of years when I was coerced by my aunt (she was the adult after all) to a full gospel deliverance meeting. I got saved and was never the same again.
My childhood was not a model of stability. My father had three gods in his life: alcohol, gambling and women. Not exactly the starting point of happy family memories. But when I accepted Christ it was because I had found someone to love me inspite of myself. I do not consider that I was hopping from church to church searching for the happiness that was not always present at home. His words hurt because I felt like he was saying that I didn’t love God but was only using him conveniently somehow. There was also the shame because even though my father’s weaknesses affected us in many ways I felt we had a lot of love amongst ourselves. My mother always made sure we knew that we were loved and my father always told us he loved us. My uncle’s words somehow made me feel like trash.
So I cried. I can’t remember if I responded in any way but I remember sitting at my desk and crying feeling very much misunderstood. It was only in hindsight I realized something. He had no right to make me feel ashamed. My circumstances were not of my doing and if God had used my difficulty as an opportunity to draw me unto Him then praise the Lord! The truth of the matter is that the personal relationship with Christ that I needed to complete my life I did not find anywhere else but in a simple cell group meeting at somebody’s house and the choice of place to worship was something I considered carefully and prayerfully.
Over the years I’ve learned the value of Einstein’s statement. Every difficulty I face is an opportunity to grow closer to God. As the songwriter said, “If I never had a problem I wouldn’t know my God could solve them”