I grew up in a Christian home and attended a private Christian school, and honestly, life was great. I had lots of friends and was participating in sports. Then, in eleventh grade, my dad found a job in a new city—and we suddenly had to move. This was a very difficult time for me because not only did I lose all my friends, but I also got injured.
It was devastating losing everything all at once. I felt like Job from the Bible. I thought that going to college would solve all my problems, but when I started at the University of Waterloo, things got worse. I had trouble making friends, and I was swamped with academics. By my second semester, I was so burned out that I wasn't going to class or completing my assignments.
"As I listened to Dr. Youssef speak about being joyful in all circumstances, I felt like he was talking directly to me."
But the scariest part of all was that I didn't realize that I was drifting further away from God. I was just existing. After failing some of my courses, I was [on the brink] of depression. I remember thinking that there was no point in living.
While visiting home, I shared with my mom all the things that were going wrong in my life. I told her I was mad at God, asking her, "Why did He make me someone who enjoys playing sports so much when I am so injury-prone?" She listened but challenged me. As an avid listener of Leading The Way, she encouraged me to listen to one of Dr. Michael Youssef's sermons.
As I listened to Dr. Youssef speak about being joyful in all circumstances, I felt like he was talking directly to me. Everything suddenly clicked and made sense. I realized that all the suffering I had experienced was for a reason. It was God teaching me that my joy can't be dependent on if I have friends, if I'm able to play sports, or how I'm performing in school. My joy must come from the fact that I know Jesus Christ as my personal Savior.
By the time I finished listening to Dr. Youssef's message, I realized that God had been with me during all those years of suffering. I think that was what made me cry the most. I now understood that if I had believed in His promise—that all things work together for the good of those who love Him—I wouldn't have spent so many years of my life in bitterness and anger.
Now, I feel like my spiritual eyes have been opened. I am trying to trust God each day, even when life is tough. I've begun to have thankfulness, independent from my circumstances. Even through the ups and downs, there's a constant steadiness that only comes from God.
Thank you, Dr. Youssef, for preaching the uncompromising Truth that comes from the Word of God. Please continue doing what you're doing because I'm sure there are so many more people—students and other young people like me—who are going through similar trials and need to hear that same, pure Gospel message.