"Life has not always been easy for me. I lost a number of key people in my life before I had even finished middle school, including my mother when I was 8 years old," says William.
Life has not always been easy for me. I lost a number of key people in my life before I had even finished middle school, including my mother when I was 8 years old. I went to public school up until my junior year of high school, which was a real struggle as I never really had anyone I could truly call my friend. I always felt like the one, weird, Christian kid that no one really liked.
Everything came to a head my sophomore year of high school when it felt like every bad thing that had happened in my life was weighing on me. I felt so alone and questioned whether God was even real in my life or whether I had any real purpose. David sums up how I was feeling very concisely in Psalm 31:9–10, Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am in trouble; my eye wastes away with grief, yes, my soul and my body! For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing; and my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.
But God brought me up out of the pit that I was in.
I remember the night that I was crying out to Him at my bedside, asking Him for help if He was really there. Almost immediately, a verse that I had discovered months prior came back into my mind with a power that could have only been Divine: The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).
It’s important for us to remember that suffering was never part of God’s original plan for humanity, and that through Christ we can overcome any obstacle because Christ Himself took on all pain and suffering when He was on Calvary and overcame sin for us. Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), and when we let Him into our hearts and work in us, He will impart His character to us and give us the strength to overcome any obstacle.
Some of Satan’s greatest temptations in my life have been to make me doubt myself, let my life be defined by my shortcomings, and rely on my own understanding of things. When I feel tempted by these thoughts and doubts, I can look back on my life and see how God has brought me through challenging situations, see how He has used the negative things in my life for good, and remember that my life is not about what I can or can’t do, but what God can do through me.
And it’s the same for everyone, because in the eyes of our Father in heaven our worth is not defined by our sins and mistakes but by the blood of Christ, and our potential is only limited by how much we are or aren’t willing to let God work in our lives. So, as I plan on going into ministry, look to the future and the unknown, and reflect on my past, my prayer will continue to be, “My times are in Your hand.”
William Ramos is a recent graduate of Wisconsin Academy, and this fall he began the theology program at Walla Walla University.