Imagine living a life with true joy, purpose, peace, and love. I grew up in a loving Seventh-day Adventist family. I decided to follow Christ on my own when I was fairly young, and I have attempted to maintain a walk with Him since then. I never stopped believing in God, but as I began my senior year of college, I found myself feeling distant from Him. I began to suffer from crippling anxiety, fear, sadness, and stress. I was scared for my future, whether I would get into medical school or understand my sciences enough to do well. I felt as though I was always fighting my way through fears and unknowns.
I was reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan at the time. Many ideas grabbed my attention from his book, but this idea made me stop: If I could live in heaven in all its wonder without Jesus, would I still want to live there? I set the book down, distraught. I could not imagine a life in heaven without Jesus, yet I was living a life on earth halfheartedly seeking Him.
What I did next changed my life. I simply asked God to help me to know Him and to show me what a life with Him looks like. As I prayed for truth, I leafed through my Bible and happened on John 15:4, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.” Remaining in Him meant letting go of my life and seeking Him above my own desires. As God began to reveal Himself to me, my eyes were opened to how incomprehensibly huge He is. I was overcome with a deep reverence for God I had never experienced before. God is the great I AM.
As I continually chose Jesus, nothing compared to knowing Him. My fears and failures largely melted away, insignificant compared to the joy and peace in loving and serving Him. Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” When I truly believed this, my life changed.
As I lived on in the experience of choosing God, I still faced challenges that would test my faith and open my heart and mind to seeing life in a new way. Finding God was a blessing and a treasure I will hold close forever. But living in this world has come with the cost of living in seasons of doubt, confusion, sorrow, failure, and anxiety. Life has not become a wonderland; rather, it has become wonder-filled where the intermingling of pain and joy paint a beautiful reality with a foundation in an eternal, loving King.
I have experienced more discouragement, more failure, and more internal agony than I have in much of my past since coming to truly know God. I have even wondered if the treasured life I had found in Him was too good to be true. Yet, I was somehow still filled with hope and gratitude toward God. At the end of a moment, a day, or even months of questioning and grappling with life, I knew there was still One from Whom I came and from Whom goodness flowed – and this assurance had been traced back to when I gave my whole life to God.
I can only describe what I mean like this: When you have tasted the goodness of God, you have been taken up in His arms to fly and to see the world below you, glowing dim and diminutive like one crystal in a sea of riches much brighter than it. You drink in the spirit of God in a way that makes you forget your encapsulation in a physical entity. You feel the purpose, hope, joy, and love offered from the very hands of the Father, and you wonder how you ever thought there was anything more crucial than He. To taste Him is to be washed over with a glimpse of His glory and to be enamored by a friendship so loving that you find yourself standing at the edge of your world. The moment you step out and fall away from everything, you gain so much more. I have tasted this much, and something that good cannot be forgotten.
My growth into adulthood through my collegiate career forced me to realize what really mattered in life. The future ahead of me in medicine is daunting, and there are still many unknowns. But now, I have a truth that is running so deep, that when all is stripped to its core, I will know one thing: He is everything I need.