More From Christine Adhikari

September 11, 2022 by Christine Adhikari (Georgia, USA)

In my devotional, I mentioned how my own faith does not appear (at least not in my own eyes) to have grown from having suffered greatly from illness. But one thing I’ve learned is that suffering will either soften the heart or harden it. And unless your heart is softened, the bright moments of God’s grace will go unnoticed; they will have no effect on you.

In 2017, I was nearly blind. I went through two major eye surgeries. Both my husband and I were humbled and surprised by the outpouring of generosity by the church family who prayed for us, spent time with us, and even delivered meals for us.

More recently, I suffered through a terrible depression that sent me into an inpatient psychiatric facility. I was hospitalized there for nine days. I had requested prayers from many Christian friends regarding my bout with anxiety and depression, but only a few people knew I was in a psychiatric facility. After I was released, my husband showed me a stack of cards he had received in the mail while I was away. There were twenty cards, at least. All of them contained kind words of encouragement and told me the senders were praying for me. I was so touched and moved that I broke down and sobbed.

This is the kindness of God. This is God’s grace at work. God’s grace moves through the body of believers to soften people’s hearts and to touch their souls. God’s grace broke through my depression and reminded me of God’s love. No, God hadn’t abandoned me. God hadn’t forgotten me. God knew my pain. God had been there all along. It was I who had forgotten how deep and how wide and how great is God’s love for us.

I have not served through prison ministry since the pandemic started. Many prison workers either got COVID-19 or quit. As a result, even with the early release of hundreds of inmates who were incarcerated for non-violent crimes or who had only a few years left of their sentence, the prison I once served is woefully understaffed. They are too understaffed of correctional officers to process and escort volunteers inside.

I miss serving in the prison. I remember once sitting with a group of women and asking them what the best day of their life was. At least two said the same thing: the best day was the day they were arrested. I was stunned. How could that be? Then one of the women explained. She said that prior to her arrest, she knew her life had been spinning out of control. She said she had even prayed to God about it. And then God showed up—perhaps not in the way she had expected. But after her arrest, her life came to a standstill. And that standstill was far better than spinning headlong down the self-destructive trajectory she was on. Prison forced her to reevaluate her life and her choices, and she made a decision to change. She was able to look back on the day of her arrest as the best day of her life because it was the day God changed the trajectory of her life for the better. This, too, is God’s grace at work. Her arrest had been an answer to prayer.

Only when our hearts are softened and humbled by our circumstances will we be able to see and witness God’s grace and love all around us, working even within our darkest moments. God rarely answers the question, “Why me, Lord?” But God is always quick to remind us of the love that God has for us!

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The Upper Room magazine's mission is to provide a practical way to listen to scripture, connect with believers around the world, and spend time with God each day.

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