“Hey God! Are you there?”
This question has been a reoccurring theme in my life since I was a child.

My disease is called arterio-vascular malformation. That long word essentially that my veins did not form or connect properly, leading to malformations in two parts of my body. From age eight, I had to undergo dozens of corrective surgeries. In spite of how difficult that period of my life was, it’s clear to me now that God was in control every step of the way. The church prayed, my family prayed, and God performed the miracles.

As humans, our goal is to overcome our challenges as quickly as possible. Problems often begin to surface when the length of the trial seems to be longer than we’d expected. Throughout my teenage years, as the number of surgeries started to pile up and yet I still wasn’t healed, a question began to rise in my heart: “Hey God! Are you there?” If you are asking the same thing, don’t worry! You aren’t the only one.

In Psalm 42, the author writes:

“I say to God my Rock, ‘Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?’” – Psalm 42:9

Although the psalmist recognizes that God is present as his Rock, he still feels forsaken. His emotions don’t immediately change just because He knows God is still in control. Another Biblical example of someone who felt abandoned by God is Job. The Bible says that Job was a blameless and upright man who feared God and shunned evil. Despite his “good” behaviour, he faced terrible challenges and experienced unimaginable loss. At his rock bottom, in the midst of his darkness, he learned something invaluable about who God is.

It doesn’t matter what the situation you face looks like, continue to trust in Jesus. Stand up in worship and exercise the faith that only God can give you. Nothing, human or supernatural, can stop the dream that God placed within you from coming to fruition.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1

My many years of suffering and surgeries were ultimately not in vain. On a mundane Monday morning, I stumbled upon an article announcing the opportunity to be selected as a torchbearer for the 2018 Winter Olympic games. Compared to the stories and experiences of other people, I didn’t think mine was special enough for me to be selected. But something in my heart pushed me to share it anyway. At the time, I had no expectations. I didn’t expect to hear back or be the person selected. It didn’t occur to me until long after I’d hit send on my application, that God was fully in control, no matter what my thoughts were telling me. The decision to trust God and boldly share how He changed my life, even when I didn’t understand what He was doing, ultimately led me to the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, where I carried the Olympic Torch.

I had the opportunity to come back to the hospital with the Olympic Torch in tow – not to undergo another surgery but to deliver a message of victory – the victory Jesus made available to us on the cross. Through Him, what was once impossible became possible for us all.

God used everything intended for our good. Be encouraged! Even when you don’t see things turning around, or circumstances changing – there is more! God is always on the move.

By Emanuele Pozzi, Torchbearer for 2018 Olympic Winter Games