“Are you okay?”
“I’m so sorry. I will be praying for you.”
“Have you heard about what’s going on?”
On January 17th, 2012 as I walked out of class and turned on my phone, these are some of the many text messages that greeted me. My first instinct was to call my Mom and ask if something had happened to one of our family members. I was panicked, nervous, and anxious to find out what was going on. A phone call from one of my close friends left me with the devastating news that my best friend, Ariane Patterson, had passed away in class. It was her 21st birthday. As I hung up the phone and sunk into the driver’s seat of my car, the first thing I thought was, “God why would you do this?! How could you let this happen?!” I felt like my world was caving in. That was hands down the toughest day of my life thus far.
On Monday, it will be a full year and four months that my best friend has been gone. In the time that has passed, I have cried, I have been heartbroken, and I have even doubted God. However, I have also prayed, had my broken heart restored, and I have learned to trust God again. It has been an amazing time of testing and healing and restoration. God has truly been my Counselor, my Provider, my Healer, and my Shelter.
When I first became a Christian, I thought that meant that my life would get easier. That I wouldn’t be tempted with sin, that God would be my genie and give me anything I asked for, and that all my trials and hardships had come to an end. I was so wrong. As a Christian, I am still tempted to sin, God is not my genie and doesn’t always give me what I ask for, and I still have trials and hardships; however – in ALL of these things, as a Christian, God is right there with me! He is fighting for me, standing beside me, and going before me.
A few days before Arie (my best friend) passed away, she wrote John 16:33 on my Facebook wall. It says, “I have told you these things so that in me, you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (ESV). In this verse, Jesus is telling His disciples that although they are followers of Him, they will still have hardships in life. This seems like a hard truth to accept, and in many ways it is, but Jesus also tells the disciples that they should take heart, because He has overcome the world! This verse has really been an encouragement to me over the past few months. It says that yes, even Christians will have struggles and trials in this world, but that Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer and King has already overcome this world. That hasgiven me so much peace and comfort through all of this. And although it has been a rough season of my life, I know that Jesus has not only overcome this world, but because of His amazing gift of Salvation, my best friend and I will one day see each other in eternity and be able to worship Him together again.
Rest in Peace, Arie. ❤