Gisela Yohannan shares some of her personal struggles in her book, Broken for a Purpose. Whether it’s the struggle to forgive others or ask for forgiveness, or self-doubts about shortcomings and failures, she is open and honest about her struggles as a Christian and the good that comes of the struggle itself. For it is in the struggles that we are made more like Jesus.
God doesn’t give us difficulties to make us suffer. He gives us obstacles and challenges to shape us into the image of Christ. Our struggles have a purpose.
Let me share a brief story from the book that really spoke to my heart right now because I feel the same inner conflict. Here, Gisela shares how she wrestled with her failures and faults, feeling unworthy to serve the Lord and teach other women. Then the Lord did something special to touch her heart.
The more time I spent thinking, the longer the list of my shortcomings seemed to become. Sure, all of it was forgiven and covered by grace, yet the remembrance made me feel so unworthy to serve the Lord.
It started to get late in the evening, and we lay down to sleep on the benches in the train. For a long time I prayed, telling the Lord how much I wanted to please Him yet how condemned I felt coming to Him with this background of forgiven failures. That night I asked Him many times, “Lord, who am I that I should do the things You asked me to do?”
By the time I went to sleep, I still didn’t feel any better about myself. The question “Who am I?” remained on my heart. It seemed to echo through my mind every time I woke up, when the train stopped and the cries of the peddlers selling chaia and capi interrupted my sleep. I had told no one about the thoughts I was struggling with, and I only hoped I would somehow feel better the next day.
The next morning I got up quite early. The train was still moving along. Daniel and Sarah were still wrapped in their sheets, trying to open their eyes.
The brother who was traveling with us had been reading his Bible. Afterward, he folded his bedsheet and put it back in his small suitcase. While he was arranging his sheet, he pulled out a small booklet and handed it to me, saying, “I want you to read this. You can keep it.”
I took it and looked at the cover page to read the title. There, written in big, bold, red letters, was: “Who Are You?”
I was totally surprised, to say the least. It was almost hard to believe what I was holding in my hand. Only last night I had asked the Lord a hundred times, “Who am I?” and here, as with return mail, I got His answer: “Who Are You?” He surely must love me a great deal to do such a thing!
Quietly I sat on my bench and started reading, curious to see what the Lord had to say to me.
Every page in this booklet exactly described my heart’s condition and the thoughts I had struggled with the previous night. The entire message of this booklet was that we live in defeat and self-condemnation as a result of not knowing who we are in Christ Jesus. Then it explained that our rightful position as a believer is the one position in which God Himself sees us: in Jesus!
–Gisela Yohannan, Broken for a Purpose, “Chapter 4: Who Am I?”
Broken for a Purpose is available as a free download (ePub, Mobi, or PDF) on the Gospel for Asia website. I encourage you to take advantage of this free resource to discover the many reasons God has for allowing us to go through difficult times. We are broken for a purpose.