By Andrew Runion
A Christian’s story tends to begin either as a rescue from an immoral life that would have certainly ended in tragedy, or the less cinematic way. That was certainly the case for me. Having been raised by loving, Christian parents, I spent much of my childhood exposed to faith, prayer, and biblical teaching. I understood that I was a sinner, deserving death. Only through faith in Jesus, by his grace, would I be saved. I admitted my guilt and gave my life into Jesus’ care at a young age.
Even that mundane story would have been worthwhile. Salvation isn’t a dull topic. Yet to my benefit, the story didn’t end there. While my salvation was assured (Philippians 1:6), the relative ease of my life made me self-reliant again and again. I faced some struggles in life, but I could always rely upon myself, or those around me, to dig me out.
It wasn’t until I had children that I was forced back to my knees. My son faced medical and behavioral challenges that went far beyond the abilities of myself, or those around me, to resolve. The situation was hopeless for my wife and me. It was an endless cycle of guesswork, worry, heartache, failure, exhaustive research, difficult decisions, expense and childcare. We were wearing down, and in the midst of turmoil, I stopped seeing Christ. The cross was looking very small.
Even as I periodically accepted that this was just the way life was going to be for me, there was anger in my heart. This was unfair, and God was to blame for it. I battled with God. I begged him for answers. I yelled at him when they didn’t come. Eventually, my forehead against a tear-soaked floor, I whimpered “help.”
I was at my end. There was no more “me” left to rely upon. Those were difficult days, but I began to see things differently. I appreciated everything a little more. Every small success I saw in my son’s development, or in my life, or in the lives of those around me, grew in importance. I was seeing God’s grace everywhere, and while I still easily jump back to calling God unfair, I more often find myself thanking God during the difficult times. The struggles make it easier to remember that Christ saves me from myself and has been doing so from the very beginning.