Though God began teaching me this lesson in 2012, after I failed the July 2011 Texas Bar Exam, I was reminded of this point again in 2013.
When I first learned that I failed the Bar Exam, the only person I could think about was myself. I thought to myself:
“how will I get over this?”
“when will this experience be over?”
Prior to that experience, I never realized how self-centered I was at times. I didn’t realize that life was bigger than me until I had a problem that was too big for me to solve.
Throughout the process of re-taking the bar exam, God taught me that my life was so much bigger than me. He helped me to realize that my life is not my own, and He showed me that everything I experience is for a greater purpose. It is for a greater purpose because He uses our areas of brokenness to make others whole.
I was able to learn these lessons while studying for the bar exam for the second time. Around that time God placed a desire in my heart to begin volunteering at church. I joined the Prayer Partner ministry. Prior to becoming a Prayer Partner, I had never prayed for others so much in my life. I had never taken the time to make a list of others’ prayer requests and guard them in prayer; but I began to do these things once I became a Prayer Partner. God used the Prayer Partner ministry to change my life and my heart. He also used the ministry to change the way I viewed challenges.
When I became a Prayer Partner, I was so busy praying for others and searching for scriptures to encourage others that I had little to no time to focus on myself. I had minimal time to think about my experience of failing because I was constantly praying for and thinking of others. Prior to becoming a Prayer Partner, I never thought I had the strength to encourage someone else because I felt weak as a result of my failure. However, volunteering to help others showed me that my struggle had a purpose, and that God had a plan to redeem my experience of failure.
As I continued to volunteer each weekend God began to show me that my greatest place of pain, was the beginning of my greatest victory. After I passed the bar exam, God began to use my experience as a Prayer Partner to show me how to pray for, and encourage other law students who failed the bar exam. Soon, the experience that appeared to be my greatest area of pain became one of my greatest joys because I was able to pray for and support others. Most of all, God allowed me to experience the power of prayer in allowing me to see the people I prayed for, pass the bar exam.
Throughout that experience God showed me that life is much bigger than we realize. Life is much deeper than the struggles on the surface of life because God has a plan and purpose for those things. His plans are infinite. Though we can only see our pain in the midst of a challenge, God is able to see our victory. He is able to plan our comebacks in the middle of setbacks. And, if we can learn to focus on God during our pain, He will allow His favor and grace to focus on us. He will use our challenges to encourage someone else, and He will use our story to become another person’s testimony of courage, faith and victory.
One of the most important lessons I learned in 2013 was “your struggle is someone else’s victory.” God can use every part of your life for His glory, when you give your life to Him.
Happy Monday! Be encouraged to devote your heart to God.
“Your life is a glory story.” -John Gray
*I serve as a Prayer Partner at Lakewood Church in Houston, TX. To learn more about the Prayer Partner Ministry or other ministries at Lakewood, click here.