Caleb Stanley (@thecalebstanley) is a co-founder and pastor of The Alternative (thealternative.org), a gathering that unites local churches and communities for a night of worship in the Atlanta area.
Being a Christian is not about avoiding grief or heartbreak, in fact, in my experience, it’s more about finding God’s grace in the midst of that pain and suffering. We live in a broken world where sin and the consequences of sin are real. But just as God sent his son to rescue us from the eternal consequences of sin, he’s also eager to walk through our daily and present sufferings. Whether that is sickness, addiction or even the loss of a close friend, He’s still here.
In GOD’S NOT DEAD: A LIGHT IN DARKNESS, Reverend Dave finds himself in a circumstance he never expected. Faced with the loss of his church and the betrayal of a close friend, Dave’s trouble doesn’t stop there. Soon he has to wrestle with even deeper wounds – when his brother abandoned not only their family but also his faith.
“Finding Jesus after heartbreak, that would be my life’s billboard,” an older gentleman once told me. When I first heard that, nothing resonated with me. The guy who said this was in his early 60’s and had been left by a wife he loved after having a very successful career. Days after that conversation I began to consider some of the battles I was facing, I kept thinking, “Finding Jesus after heartbreak?” What does that even mean for me? More than I knew.
For many of us, we found God early on in our life. For some of us it was in Sunday school or at youth camps along the way, for me it was in my own bedroom. Receiving salvation is only the beginning though. We must recognize that we will experience trials and that we are not exempt from suffering after experiencing salvation. (1 Peter 5:10, James 1:2-4, Romans 12:12). We know Jesus doesn’t want to resolve all the trials as much as he wants to strengthen us and make us more like him. Sometimes the pain we experience is allowed in our life so that we can learn what true joy and happiness look like. We often think that Christianity is about comfort, but it’s not. Christianity is about peace.
As Christians, our goal should be to become more and more like Christ every day, not to have a perfect life free of adversity. In the midst of our discomfort, seek to find peace. This is a process that allows us to leverage our pain and suffering, to find joy in the midst of confusion, and to trust that our God has a plan even when we can’t see it. No matter what it is that you are up against, remember that God’s greatest longing for you is to know him, not just when everything is figured out, but even now, in the midst of your pain.
Don’t miss the incredible story of Reverend Dave, an example of walking in faith through suffering. GOD’S NOT DEAD: A LIGHT IN DARKNESS opens in theaters nationwide March 30, and is a powerful reminder that in all circumstances, God’s love is a light in the darkness for all people. Buy tickets here.