When we face challenges in life, we need to remember that we don’t travel that road alone. Each one of us has had to deal with challenges that push us beyond what we think we can take. At those times we need to remember that God is with us and will help us through. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Many of us have been faced with losses that have challenged us to continue on. It doesn’t seem quite possible that we can. The void left is too big, the absence is too great, but we continue on because that is what their leaving inspires us to do. I am encouraged by God’s promise to never leave us or forsake us.
Deuteronomy 31:6; Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
David added in Psalm 23…
Psalm 23:4; Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
Challenges in life take on many forms. Many of them we faced as we grew up. It was our parents that were responsible for training us in the way we should go.
Proverbs 22:6; Direct your children onto the right path,
and when they are older, they will not leave it.
Do you remember your parents using the line “this is for your own good?” It was usually used to motivate us to do something we really didn’t want to do. It was to direct us to do what is right. There were many things we had to do to grow up that we really didn’t want to do.
I remember once as a kid I took something that didn’t belong to me and when my mom found out, she not only made me give it back but she also made me stand before the person I took it from and apologize. Couldn’t I just give it back and forget the rest? No, this is for your own good.
We attempt to help those around us through similar challenges. When there is a loss or challenge, we come alongside to walk with them through it. We demonstrate compassion, grace and comfort. It isn’t always comfortable but it is necessary to move forward and grow.
We can choose to go with God or we can choose to go our own way. Do you remember the passage about the wise and foolish builders, Matthew 7:24-27? We can look at the similarities of the two men, there were three things. One, they knew the words of Jesus. Two, they both wanted to build a life that would last. Three, they both experienced storms.
Where do the storms in life come from? I read this note; “this thing is from me”, God. Don’t think for a moment that God is not in the storms of life. He is not only in them but he uses them to help us grow and mature. It is in these times that we learn to depend on him and him alone. We mature and develop the faith to endure the difficult times, to trust in God’s plan and to persevere.
Most times we only show the world the shiny surface of our life. You know, the one everyone posts on Facebook. The outside looks great but when you dig a little deeper there is much more there than we show. The life we choose to show the world is not the true reflection of the challenges we face. It reminded me of a man that built a sailboat.
There was a man who wanted to build a fantastic sailing ship. He used the best of materials and bought the finest sails. When he was finished, the boat looked awesome. It sparkled and shone in the sunlight. There was not another ship its equal. However, below the waterline he wasn’t as diligent. He skimped; when it came time for the ballast, he didn’t have much of anything in the ship’s hold.
Do you know what happens when your sailboat doesn’t have any ballast, any hold? When the boat met its first big wind, it toppled over. The shiny part of the boat was now underwater and the part the man thought no one would see was exposed for all to see. When you build a sailboat, it is what you have below the waterline, what nobody sees, that determines the magnitude of the storm you can endure.
Life is much the same way. It matters how firm and stable our foundation is. We cannot endure the challenges of life without the right foundation. We cannot survive the storm without being anchored in Christ. Difficulties and challenges will come in life. There are three ways we respond to those difficulties and challenges.
We can despise; we can hate God and be angry with him. Like throwing a temper tantrum when we were children and our parents corrected us or made us do something we didn’t want to do.
We get discouraged; we can be depressed and think that God has somehow forgotten about us or doesn’t care. We lose our self-esteem and doubt if God even knows we are alive.
We can choose to remember God’s promise never to leave or forsake us. We can remember that even through the darkest times He is with us.
We know that God is with us in this, he has a plan and it is beneficial for us, no matter how we see it. Through this situation we can learn to trust Him, have faith and grow. We open up our hearts and heads to the teaching of God and strive to have faith in Him and everything there is to learn from every challenge, knowing all the while God walks alongside to guide, protect and comfort us.
We need to be wise and build on the solid foundation of Christ. When the storms of life come, we will have the faith to get through. We will have a firm foundation to prevent everything we have built in life from crashing down around us. The words of Paul come to mind;
Philippians 3:12; 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.