Hello Church Family,
I hope that you are doing well and staying healthy. I am a big political news junkie and love to watch politics on TV. Lately, however, it just seems like things are repeated over and over and the longer I watch TV news the more discouraged I become. I guess it’s pretty easy to fall in the trap of losing hope while we are in this seemingly never-ending cycle of bad news. Today as I was thinking about how things are today, God reminded me to look to His Word and see examples of the heroes in the Bible who faced much more dire circumstances than we are and then be encouraged by their example. Take for instance the people of Israel who faced such formidable odds as they entered the promised land after wandering in the wilderness for 40 years. Think about Daniel who was a slave in Babylon and lived under the rule of so many ungodly men. Joseph was sold as a slave and even thrown in prison for things he didn’t do. All of these and so many more are examples to us of those who face difficult times.
Many people think of Paul as a spiritual giant who never became discouraged by the difficulties that came his way. Paul tells us to exult the glory of God in our tribulations since they are a tool the Lord uses to produce perseverance (Rom. 5:1-4). In 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 we see a different side of Paul:
"We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”
Paul writes with great transparency, saying he was burdened beyond his strength and despaired of life. However, He knew the Lord was not absent in all those afflictions and realized he had to trust God rather than himself. That is a lesson we can learn from as well.
So many times we try to be self-reliant and give in to fear, which leads to the wrong path. This, in turn, causes us to become weaker instead of growing stronger in the storm. Oftentimes, in desperation, we’ll ask other people for guidance instead of going to our Father. Our first response should be to seek understanding from Him about what’s happening in our life. This is why time with the Lord in His Word and prayer is the top priority. Only through Him can we find the strength that we need. As this time continues, remember to rely on Him and He will see you through.
Have a great week,