Adversity

There is no point in being pessimistic about the prospects of life, if you have God in your heart. I have been through an ordeal as of late, and my entire life has been turned upside down. I would go into details, but for the safety of those persons involved, I am not going to delve into certain circumstances too deeply. Go somewhere else if you want a gossip column. Just know that my troubles have revolved around a few key aspects of my life: the girl I loved, my health, my finances, and my grades.

I was asked a question when I was very young; “What is it that you are not willing to give up to God?” At the time, I did not understand the question. In the present moment, I understand the question completely, so I am able to retort appropriately. The aforementioned list is among what I have perceived to be my most passionate pursuits. These are the things in my life that I have idolized. I have tended to disassociate them with God.

God asks each of us to love him. But for some, he asks a little bit more. For some, he asks for personal sacrifices. What it is that we are not willing to give to God, is eventually what he will require, in order for a person to achieve a state of Grace within himself. But He will only ask those of us who are called into Him to make giant leaps of faith and leave the fleshy vain temptations of life behind us as we walk on the Path of Light.

For me, it has most assuredly been what I valued the most in life that God has asked me to relinquish. Only after I had given God my word that I was forever in his embrace did he take away those things upon which I had so fervently relied.

It was my grades first. I had gotten so wrapped up in the idea of success, and of good grades, that I had put those aspirations before my love of God. And so, God naturally showed me that my own procrastination and laziness in loving God bled into my pursuit of good grades. He has also shown me that grades matter little in the changing fortunes of time and space. I can achieve great heights in anywhere that I have God with me.

My finances were the next to go. I had been so preoccupied with the purchase of luxurious objects and merchandise that I had fallen into the consumerist trap: work now, buy later. In His infinite wisdom, God revealed to me that my addiction to luxury would be what brought me back to poverty, of which I had been so desperately trying to run from. God does not concern himself with how much money someone has. If a person is truly Holy, then they will ask God what is right.

God is truly wonderful and magnificent in his wisdom. There is nothing greater then knowing that no matter what, he will always have us in the palm of his hands.

This is very encouraging news for someone like me.

I would like to confess something to the world right now. A memory that I am quite sure has been suppressed for a very long time. In all honesty, I am not sure if this memory is even real. If it is real, it would probably be classified. So the fact that it’s not on my service record makes me think that it’s just my imagination. Perhaps they aren’t memories at all, but visions of a possible future. But I remember it like it was yesterday…

I keep thinking of a Croatian named Jonathan. Someone who was very near and dear to my heart. I can’t remember the exact details, but I seem to remember being tied down and forced to watch a crazed warlord take a machete and slice open Jonathan’s neck from ear to ear like he was cutting open a watermelon. I kept screaming “Don’t do it Colonel!”, but my words were inconsequential. I saw the blood of this man spewing out of his neck. The warlord’s face was maniacal, almost to the point that he was the Devil himself.

Jonathan’s body fell over, slumped on the ground and discarded by the warlord. I looked at the body for five minutes. Then I looked right back into the warlord’s eyes, and I vowed to return.

That I did nearly a week later. I got on a transport heading out to a village nearby the warlord’s encampment and waited until nightfall. Once night came upon us, I hightailed it into the camp. Sufficient to say, I was extremely motivated to do only one thing that night. I grabbed the Colonel and exfiltrated the camp along with two others.

We tortured him. I remember ropes and burning flesh. I remember a wire with clamps that was used to send electric current through his body. I remember gasoline.

But the punishment didn’t satisfy me. At the end of the long ordeal, I took out my knife and I sliced his face from ear to ear, just as he had done to my friend.

Again, perhaps I never did do any of these these things. Perhaps these are metaphors given to me by God for the sole purpose of understanding that it is never satisfying to seek revenge for being hurt. Human beings are extremely tempted creatures. Any human being that swoops down to being the Devil’s personal plaything on Earth at one moment is still loved by God at all moments. God hurts much more when human beings sin. But to forgive someone whom forgiveness is not deserving: this is called “Mercy.” We are all, as children of God, called to grant others mercy.

And to my ex girlfriend, mercy is what I give. I pray to God that he might guide her and that her faith is not lost in the ensuing spiritual and unseen warfare that goes on inside her mind.

I also pray for peace and solace within myself. The memories that I have been starting to remember… The actions that I have taken to express my anger recently. My lust. These are all things that I pray to God might be made nullified and turned into good.

I am ready for God.

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