It can take considerable faith to do what we think is right, especially when we feel as though we are all by ourselves. Sometimes, this decision can cause us suffering, and it becomes difficult to see what God is trying to accomplish.
Blaine Adamson knows this feeling well.
After a successful year for Blaine’s small promotional printing business, Hand On Originals in Lexington, Kentucky, a single decision turned his life upside-down.
In 2012, Blaine respectfully declined to print a shirt with a message that conflicted with his conscience—something he does all the time. But this time, the organization that requested the shirts went to the local government and filed a complaint against Hands On Originals, alleging that Blaine had discriminated against them.
What followed is enough to shake even those with the strongest faith.
There was a public boycott of his shop. Media outlets printed stories smearing Blaine and his company. Even the mayor of his hometown came out against him.
As customer after customer pulled their business, it was not just Blaine’s livelihood that was at stake but the livelihoods of all his employees and their families. One of the worst moments for Blaine was when he realized that he might have to let people go. “OK, God, it’s not just me,” Blaine tearfully recalled praying. “It’s all these people. How am I showing love to all these people, if they’re going to lose their jobs?”
Maligned in the press, facing a legal battle, and worried about the people who depend on him for their jobs—Blaine felt as though he was all alone. “I felt sick thinking what might happen to the people who worked for us. But worse even than that—I felt so very alone,” said Blaine, “It seemed like our church and even many of our friends didn’t really grasp why I had made this choice.”
Sometimes, we might wonder whether God is working amidst such trials. Sometimes, situations like these cause us to doubt his goodness. But, thankfully, God tells us “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8).
Blaine recalls the struggle and the honesty he had before God: “I finally just began to cry out to the Lord. ‘God,’ I said, ‘I will stand, no matter what the cost. But I am so broken right now.’”
And then the doorbell rang.
“I opened the door—and God came in like a flood. A bunch of people from our church had all just come over to hug and cry, pray, show their support, and encourage us,” remembered Blaine. “That was a real turning point for our whole family.”
When they needed it most, God sent a reminder to Blaine and his family that there were many people standing with them. But, in addition to this, God was also working underneath the surface to accomplish something much more important than a business deal or a lawsuit—He was drawing people to Himself.
Blaine’s courageous stand for his religious beliefs has resulted in two victories in court so far. But more importantly, it has drawn people to God—starting with the people closest to him: his family.
“One of the good things about this whole situation has been the impact that it’s had on my own family, said Blaine, “not just my own spiritual walk, but also my children and having them really dig in and ask the questions: Do I really believe what this says? Do I really want to walk this out the rest of my life? Is this really a God I can trust in?”
While their children were learning more about what it means to be a Christian, Blaine’s wife, Amy, was growing in her faith as well. “It is easy to say ‘God is faithful, God is good,’” she wrote, “But when you’re going through something like this…I feel like I’ve grown up in my faith.”
Often times, we may feel that our suffering is meaningless and that we are going through trials alone. But if Blaine’s story shows us anything, it is that we are never left to struggle through hard times alone. God is always with us and is using our trials to accomplish His work on earth.
We should never fear doing the right thing or taking a stand for Him because, as Blaine put it, “wherever God has us, He has us.”