I saw a graphic shared on Facebook the other day that said:
“She believed she couldn’t, and she was right. But God, when she gave Him every broken piece, of herself, He used it all for His glory.”
This isn’t a popular message right now- admitting your weakness, admitting your limits. You won’t get many followers, likes, or shares for it, that’s for sure!
You know what will?
“Girl, you are in charge of making your dreams happen!” “Hustle and slay all day, girlfriend!” “Stop accepting less than you deserve.” “You are in control of your own life!”
..loudly shouts the widely successful author/speaker/entrepreneur/reality TV star/blogger/Instagram influencer/Facebook viral sensation.
That is the message that echos in our culture of women empowerment and it really is a message of false hope. The ultimate answer to our success is not found in our own abilities and talents. We cannot even take credit for those things because they were given to us as gifts from the Creator of the universe.
Beloved, if you are a believer, know that your life is much more useful in the hands of the Savior’s than in your own. His power and strength are really what we need.
“But [Jesus] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
This message is so countercultural, but so much truth can be found in it. Much like the apostle Paul, I believe it is important to gladly boast in our weakness for it shows the world that our faith truly lies in Christ and not in ourselves. Jesus tells us that there is strength to be found there, not because we are awesome and capable and in control, but because He is.
Your strength isn’t about how hard you can slay or hustle. Real strength comes from total dependency on God.
For His strength will always be made perfect in our weakness. What blooms in your life will be beautiful because of Him.
Author and artist, Ruth Chou Simmons says it this way:
“God demonstrating His glory through your dependency is your real story, and He’s writing it day-by-day through deepening roots and newly formed buds.”
Your story of walking with Jesus is not about your works or what you can do to look more like Him in your own power or strength, it is about working with grace and allowing it to do its work in you and through you.
The more you lean into His grace, the more you will see growth and maturity in your heart and life. Through this dependency on Him, you will make Jesus famous and not your own name. God alone will receive all the glory that is due His name.
We must remind our hearts that His grace is enough to walk through this life, even when we feel so incredibly weak and powerless and incapable of what we feel God has called us to do. May we learn how to surrender our life to Jesus every single day and trust that He will use it all for His glory.
Are you finding yourself “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” to accomplish a task that the Lord has given you?
When was the last time you asked God for His help in an area you were struggling?
If you find it difficult to admit your weakness, know that a safe place to run is into the arms of God. May we not walk in our own strength and learn how to humble ourselves before God so we can see Him work in our heart and life. This will help shine a light on how real and faithful God is to the world who are looking for real strength to get through the trials of life.
I sat there on the bathroom floor browsing social media on my phone next to the bathtub as my boys splashed around in the bubbles, playing with their tub toys- just a typical day in the life of this stay-at-home mom. Suddenly, my heart sank as I scrolled Facebook and caught the headline, “CDC Confirms first St. Louis Case of Coronavirus.”
COVID-19 had made its way to our home-state of Missouri and suddenly, the anxiety many people around the world had been experiencing for months became very real to me.
As this virus has spread across the nation, so has much uncertainty and panic as many have been told by government officials to stay shut up in their homes because of the danger of this extremely contagious virus. Many churches have closed their doors since no more than ten people at a time are allowed to gather. Many businesses have been shut down and employees have lost their jobs in the process.
Empty grocery store shelves, massive job loss, social isolation, endangered health, and sadly, even death have been reality for so many people during this time. Suddenly the comfort of abundance and security has been stripped from our society and many are looking for hope right now.
Some believe that hope can be found in a vaccine or medication for all of this to go away. Although modern medicine is a blessing to our society and could solve the issue at hand, the real concern is that this pandemic is revealing that people are trying to find hope in the wrong source.
This is one of the greatest opportunities as Christians to shine the light of real hope to a fearful and hurting world- the hope of Christ!
Hebrews 6 tell us of this hope:
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters [p]within the veil, 20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
This verse shares the truth that Jesus Christ has made a way for us to be able to enter into fellowship with a thrice holy God. He lived the perfect life we could not live by fulfilling the law and laid down His own life as a sacrifice for us. Because of this, we are able to have hope no matter what we face in this life. And if that wasn’t good news enough, as our high priest, Jesus is also forever making intercession for us daily (Hebrews 7:25)!
As Christians, we must constantly remind ourselves of this blessed hope when anxiety comes in like a tidal wave and tries to overwhelm our hearts. We must fight the temptation to find our hope in anything else but Christ. Our hope should not be in a vaccine, medication, a booming economy, job security, a full pantry, positive statistics, or the government’s financial support.
Our hope should be built on Christ, our Solid Rock, the anchor of our soul, the only security we have in this life because that security is eternal. Our health and finances may be taken from us. No matter what happens, life in Him can never be taken away from us. For when this is all over, He is the only One who can save us from the curse of sin and death.
In Him, we are forgiven and justified before a Holy God. In Him, we stand faultless before the throne of judgement that awaits us all one day. The hope of eternity in His presence should be the anchor in the storms of life. The only real hope we can stand upon is eternal life found in Jesus Christ.
Have you been tempted to allow anxiety and panic to sweep you away during this difficult time?
Are you feeling hopeless because of your current circumstances and looking for relief in the possible solutions presented to us? Take your worries to the Lord today and ask Him to help your unbelief.
Are you spending more time looking at statistics and the news right now?
Instead of reading the newest headlines every day, open up your Bible and fill your heart with hope, not fear. The temptation during times like this is to focus on all the trials around you, especially if you are experiencing uncertainty, lack, or discouragement. Resist that temptation and use it as an opportunity to offer your gratefulness to God: everyday find three things to be thankful for and write them down to remind your soul of God’s goodness.
Even though I have so many wonderful memories during the holiday season, this time of year also holds some painful memories of experiencing the bitterness of death and loss. Sadly, I know this is the case for so many people. For me, November is the month that my dad was murdered (actually it will be 11 years on the 17th) and the month my husband and I lost our first baby early on in my pregnancy. Those were times where I had to endure some pretty heavy emotional suffering. Even though I was a Christian during those times, the pain was still very real and I struggled in my faith. I had to constantly press into God’s truth and surround myself with other believers who loved me and encouraged me during those dark times.
Pain and suffering are not something any of us look forward to, but while we live here in this fallen and broken world, it is inevitable. It is so easy to get caught up in the storms of our life and lose sight of the hope that is available to us through Jesus Christ. He is the anchor in that storm and promises to never abandon us.
The suffering may not disappear, but the good news is that Jesus is right there with us to walk through it together. In the midst of the pain, the temptation is to give all of our focus on the battle we may be facing. I believe it is so important for us to keep a heavenly and eternal perspective when we are in the midst of a painful situation or even a painful season. We have to remember that our life here on earth is not all that there is to our existence.
There is a life to come where we are promised no more pain or suffering when we see Jesus face to face and when He returns in all of His glory. This is the glory that Paul tells us about in Romans 8:18:
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
If you are currently experiencing a trial that seems too much to bear, take that pain to the throne of God. He hears every cry; the Holy Spirit is our great Comforter. Also, fight the temptation to isolate yourself and try to find a friend whom you can share your heart with and confide in. God never intended for us to walk through the valley alone. He is always with you, and He will send someone to be a listening ear and shoulder to cry on if you ask Him.
This song is ringing through every store, in every restaurant, and following you on your drive home from work. Oh, yes, the holidays are upon us. This can mean many things for you depending on what has your focus. As Christians, we can get caught up in the hustle and bustle of this time of year and even if our intention is to keep Christ at the center, especially if our family celebrates Christmas, we can be lead astray very easily with the spirit of consumerism that can often come with this time of year.
As Americans, our culture seems to have a desire for more, more, more, especially when it comes to material things. Even if we don’t need it, if it is on sale, often times, we feel drawn to purchase the item. This mentality seems to be magnified in our society during the holidays. Unfortunately, the infamous Black Friday sales have taken over the entire month of November, and Thanksgiving, a time where we should be reflecting on what we are grateful for, is beginning to take a backseat in our culture. We are becoming consumed with consumerism.
Perhaps it is time to ask ourselves, if we are always seeking and reaching for more, are we truly satisfied in Christ alone? Are we looking to material things, people, or great circumstances to find peace or joy? Are we content with what God has already provided for us?
In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he begins to share with the church at Philippi encouragement about learning how to rejoice no matter what is going on in life and gives the people direction in what they need to focus on.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
If they would put this into practice, they would experience the peace of God.
As Paul nears the end of his letter to the church at Philippi, he reflects on God’s perfect provision:
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”
When we search for fulfillment in things, people, or even our circumstances, we will always come up short. All of these things we try to fill our lives with aren’t necessarily bad things, but when they become the end goals, and the reason for our being, they become idols in our life. We end up being discontented because those things were never meant to fulfill us. Jesus is the only One who can bring true contentment into our life. And
What makes this time of year the most wonderful for you?
Take some time to reflect and journal and express your gratitude to the Lord. If you are feeling discontented, ask the Lord to help you find satisfaction and peace in Him alone.
Growing up, I learned very early on that not much in my life would stay consistent and that the pattern of my life would include a lot of change, and sometimes drastic change. From my parents’ divorce to my mom’s remarriage to a man she met on the internet (remember AOL chatrooms?) to the birth of another sibling when I was in middle school to moving homes every two years throughout grade-school and middle school to my father’s constant on and off battle with alcoholism to a sudden complicated break up with my high school boyfriend of two and a half years. It did not take long for a heart of anxiety to be formed in my life because there was not much in my life that I could run to for security.
So as I got older, I ran to other things, other people. I quickly became ensnared by alcohol abuse and did many dangerous things that only served to create glue-strong attachments to other people — things like an adulterous relationship with a married man and countless one-night stands with random men I followed home from the bar. I was constantly anxious and depressed.
But, after I graduated from college, my eyes were truly opened to my selfish, promiscuous existence and my deep desire to find something firm and secure. I hadn’t been to church for years, but one morning I went. During the worship service, God met me in my mess and convicted my heart. Immediately I knew I needed to stop running away from Him and start running toward Him.
In that moment, I realized He was the security and peace I was searching for. I told Him I didn’t want to live this life on my own anymore and I repented for my rebellion and unbelief. I knew that all I was searching for could only be found in Jesus. I resolved to stand upon the secure foundation of the Rock, Jesus Christ, who never changes. After that moment, my whole world changed as God began transforming my heart. It was by far the best change I have ever experienced!
You may not have experienced difficult and often painful change in your life exactly like I did, but I’m sure you have realized that change is inevitable while we are here on this earth.
Change is just a part of life.
How we handle that change is really where we will discover where our hope and sense of security lies. If change is causing us to worry or stress out, we need not to run to other things or people to try to fix our anxiousness. We will always be disappointed, left feeling empty and even more anxious. We must run to God.
Philippians 4:6 tells us that we must not allow anxiety to overwhelm us, but instead, we are to come to God in prayer and cry out to Him with our requests, full of a thankful heart knowing He hears us.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:7, ESV
God’s peace is like nothing else this world can offer; it is beyond all human logic or reasoning.
He promises to protect our hearts and minds when we dwell on our position in Jesus, as forgiven children of God. He is not only the Creator and sustainer of life, but He is our heavenly Father that longs to protect and provide for us.
So at the turn of 2020, are you undergoing a lot of change, whether by your own hand or by unforeseen circumstances? Is this change causing you to worry?
Instead of allowing these worries to drive you to other sources in an attempt to bring relief, make a list of these worries and take them to God is prayer today. He hears every request. You can find peace and rest assured that He is the One who never changes. Even if everything around you feels like shifting sand, remember that Jesus Christ is firm and secure.
While you are writing down your requests, listen to the old hymn, My Hope is Built on Nothing Less and reflect upon the One who is the only strong and constant foundation.
I laid on the cold, sterile exam table feeling uneasy from the moment I parked my car.
I thought to myself, “Paul and I were just here 2 weeks ago. We got to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time and got pictures to show our family. Why did the doctor need to see me again for an ultrasound?”
I told my husband he didn’t have to come with me to this appointment since it would just be a quick routine checkup on the baby’s growth, which is what I was told. Since this was my first pregnancy, I didn’t think anything of it when I put the appointment on my calendar, but the closer I got to the doctor’s office on my drive there, I was starting to worry and question why I needed to be seen again so early on.
Within the first few minutes of the ultrasound, the doctor got very quiet and simply said, “Oh, I hate when this happens.”
“What?” I asked, my heart racing faster and faster.
“There is no heartbeat. I’m so sorry.”
That Kind of Faith
I sat up, tears streaming down my face and let out a big sigh. She asked if I was going to be okay.
With a shaky voice, I pointed her to the One that has always been near to me during times like these.
“I have been through a lot in my short life. I have had some serious valley experiences. My dad was murdered several years ago, two divorces ripped a part my family, serious family illnesses, anxiety, depression…but my faith in God has always gotten me through it. This will be no different. Jesus is faithful.”
She sat across from me still, nodded her head, and said “I’m glad you have that kind of faith. I will give you some time alone…just get dressed and come out whenever you are ready, and we will talk about our options.”
“I knew that I was not alone in my sorrow. God saw me in my pain and did not overlook it.”
Although this baby went on to be with the Lord early on in my pregnancy, Paul and I did not believe this would be the end of our story; we strongly believed God would give us a child, and we would rest and trust in His timing. God was faithful to us and we now have two sons. But do those two sons erase the pain of losing a baby? No.
Although God answered our prayers to have children, He still saw all of those tears and was with me as my heart and body healed. I looked to the only One who could keep me from being crushed under the weight of my grief. I knew that I was not alone in my sorrow. God saw me in my pain and did not overlook it.
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”
Psalm 56:8, NLT
The same was true, years before, after I received the news that my dad had been brutally murdered. Honestly, my faith met at a crossroad during that time in my life. Instead of allowing the weight of that loss to completely crush me, I chose to look to Jesus. I chose to call upon the Lord and to stand upon Christ, my solid Rock, and believe He was good and He was in control. I chose to have faith in the One who is near to the brokenhearted.
“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit”
My family and I are currently going through another valley experience right now, and we are choosing to stand upon God’s Word and cling to Jesus for He is our anchor in this storm. Just a couple days before Independence Day this year, my husband received the devasting phone-call that his younger brother was involved in a tragic drowning accident while he was on vacation with his newlywed wife and friends. These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions and physical exhaustion. From the mere shock of this tragedy to consoling parents, friends, and relatives to responding to countless messages, texts, and phone-calls to the planning of funeral arrangements and the days following all of these events.
Although I felt the sting of this tragic loss, I watched my husband, his parents, and my sister-in-law experience the deepest pain imaginable – pain so difficult that it physically hurt. The night Paul received the news, I held him as we both cried, huddled on the couch. He kept grabbing his chest and saying, “I miss him so much. This hurts so bad.” We are all putting one foot in front of the other and walking through the pain with Jesus, trusting that He will continue to heal our broken hearts and believing we will see our precious brother again in heaven someday.
I don’t know if you have ever experienced so much emotional pain that you physically hurt, but in those moments, as humans, we struggle to bring real comfort and healing, whether to ourselves (self- help isn’t the answer, friends) or to others. We can offer our condolences, bring them food, send cards, pray for them, and hold them when they need a shoulder to cry on (all of which we have thankfully experienced these last few weeks), but truthfully, only God can help to bring the comfort, healing, and peace we need during times like these. After all, two of the Holy Spirit’s names are “The Helper” and “Comforter.”
“But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you.”
The mighty, all-powerful God who created the entire universe is the same God who draws oh so close to us in our brokenness and pain. The Holy Spirit (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) is our gift from the Father and is nearer than our very breath. Just like John 14:26 says, He will also help us remember what Jesus has told us in Scripture.
In this season of my life, as I ask for strength and grace to help my husband and our family walk through this valley, the Lord is doing so by bringing me to the truth of His Word. After a couple days passed after the news, I was finally able to take off my mom-hat for a few minutes and be alone and process all that had happened. I broke down sobbing in the shower. Although we weren’t siblings by blood, he was my little brother for the last ten years. The pain hit me like a tidal wave, and I cried out to the Lord like I had done countless times before when the heaviness was trying to overwhelm me.
Not only did I sense the nearness of God in the moment, the Holy Spirit brought a verse to my mind that flooded my heart with hope. As soon as I left the shower, I grabbed my phone to look up the Scripture. The Holy Spirit was reminding me to keep my mind fixed on eternity.
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”
What a beautiful reminder to all of us who might be experiencing pain right now! We may feel pain and sorrow, but that does not mean that we have no hope! Our life is only a vapor (James 4:14), and this place is not our home. We have a promise that one day every tear will be wiped away and pain will be no more:
“[Jesus] will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
The Bible is full of truth about eternity and wisdom on how we should live our lives while we are still here on earth. Jesus doesn’t promise that we will escape pain here on earth, but He does promise that He will be with us always (Matthew 28:20).
In your pain and sorrow, cry out to the Lord and walk with the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to bring you true comfort and peace, all while guiding you into truth about the Kingdom to come. Soon and very soon we will be with Him forever, where His perfect love will be all we ever experience. Until then, keep drawing near to Him and He will faithfully draw near to you, just as His Word promises us.
I struggled with anxiety and panic attacks for many years in high school and college, even as a believer. Stress and worry were just a part of my life, and I allowed them to move into my mind and become my permanent mental roommates. From money problems to relationship issues, if it became too much, you would find me curled up in a ball in the fetal position on the floor, hyperventilating until parts of my body went numb and crying until there were no more tears left.
After I graduated college, I began to walk closer with the Lord and study His Word like I never had before in my life. My mind was being renewed and over time, I began to trust the Lord with every care and worry and cast them upon Him like 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to do.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
The other night when I experienced the panic attack, there was a brief moment where I was given the opportunity to resist the negative thoughts and take them captive and begin to talk to God like I had learned to do so many times before, but this time, I chose to let my mind run in circles. I was so familiar with the experience of a panic attack that I could literally feel it try to overtake me right before it happened. The dark cloud of what I believe was demonic oppression then blanketed my mind and then my whole body. If I would have remembered Philippians 4:6-7 or even 1 Peter 5:7, I would have realized that God offered me a solution to my anxious thoughts. A simple conversation with the Lord would have helped me centered my thoughts and would have brought immediate peace to the whirlwind in my mind.
If this describes your life at all, here is a prayer you can pray for when stress hits hard:
A Prayer for Stress
Lord, thank you that you want us to cast our cares on you. Thank you that there is nowhere I can go that you are not there with me. Thank you for having a hold of my life, even as I feel like everything is crumbling around me.
Lord, I confess that I have let stress take a hold of my life, rather than You. I have let stress control my mood, my attitudes and my actions. Lord, I repent of this! Please Father, help me see what is stressful in my life and hand it over to You. Help me not let the stress win out. Help me actively think on Your goodness to me.
I am so hopeful for my eternity with you, Lord, where there will be NO more stress! Help me look back on all the ways You have rescued me from my stressful moments, and look in hope to the future where You will one day rid all stress, forever.
Help me live boldly in the truth of Your goodness and power today. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
While browsing home décor the other day, I found words of encouragement galore. Signs with words such as “Peace” and “Joy” and “Life” and “Hope” and “Strength” filled the aisles. Those words uplift the heart, but truthfully, are empty if they are not rooted in the only Giver of those things, God Himself. We cannot find joy, peace, life, hope, or strength apart from God. We cannot look within ourselves as the source.
Much like the apostle Paul, I will gladly boast in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12). Jesus tells me that there is strength to be found there, not because I am awesome and capable and in control, but because He is. Just like Jesus tells us in John 16, He has overcome the world, therefore we can find peace and draw our strength from Christ’s victory on the cross.
Psalm 31:24 gives us a glimpse as to how we can find strength to face the adversity we face in this life:
“Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the Lord.”
His strength encourages us tell others about the truth of His love with boldness. We do not have to try to muster up courage to be bold for Christ because as believers, we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit who empowers us to preach the truth and fills our heart with the love of God to share with the world. God has promised us to always be with us and His Holy Spirit is nearer than our very breath. The enemy has no chance because God is greater than all the schemes hell can throw at us. God is not only with us always, but He has also given us spiritual armor to stand and face the enemy (Ephesians 6). We can rest knowing that God is sovereign over every battle and every resistance we will face.
Are you trying to find strength in your own abilities? Are you putting your trust in hope in other things or people thinking they will bring you peace and joy?
If you find yourself looking to other people or things outside of Christ for source of peace, hope, joy, or strength, take this time to repent and fix your gaze upon God once again. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you lean upon God His Word. Our prayer should be much like John the Baptist: “More of You and less of me” (John 3:30). True strength is found trusting in the Lord. He holds the whole world in His hands, including your life.
Also, if you are struggling with finding courage to be bold for Christ, ask the Lord for an opportunity to share His love with someone who crosses your path. The Holy Spirit will strengthen you.
While juggling with babysitting a friend’s son who was a full-on ‘threenager,’ I walked through a really difficult mothering season with my own son who seemed to always protest sleep since he was born.
Every few months, he went through major sleep regressions in which he would wake up multiple times a night. Occasionally he would sleep through the night, but the night wakings always seemed to continue for weeks leading into months at a time, night after dreadful night. About a month before he turned two, He began waking three-five times a night. This routine continued every single night for six solid months straight. We prayed (and cried), we had other people pray, we tried a sound machine, essential oils, added extra cushion to his bedding, and followed all of the pediatrician’s advice and tips.
Needless to say, sleep deprivation was my constant reality and it hit me hard in 2016.
From all of the hormonal imbalances and added stress from the severe, chronic sleep deprivation, along with taking on a part-time job in retail around the holidays, I experienced a chemical pregnancy and battled depression on and off for months. Our marriage was also under so much strain because I simply was not behaving like myself whatsoever and was on edge or emotional all the time.
Feeling depleted and defeated was an understatement.
As a Christian, it felt like such a fight to hold onto peace, hope, and joy. Knowing that true peace, hope, and joy are not circumstantial, I really had to lean on God’s grace to get through every single day unlike any other time in my life.
I knew the Bible told me that I needed to “count it all joy” in the midst of these trials, but I needed God to give me eyes to see the why behind that and empower me to the how as well.
We find in the opening of James’ letter to the tribes of Israel, after his initial greeting, he immediately begins exhorting and encouraging God’s people that the storms of life are not for no reason at all; there is purpose within the pain.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces [a]patience.”
We know that as children of God, our Heavenly Father is allowing these trials into our life to strengthen our faith in Him, knowing that He is always working things for our good (Romans 8:28). James 1:3 reveals that this sharpening or testing of our faith ‘muscles’ will produce a patience in us, which is a fruit of the Spirit. God will often use painful, uncomfortable, and stressful situations to sanctify us. We can have joy knowing that these storms of life and difficulties are molding us into looking more like Christ.
Ultimately, we must remember that our joy is not anchored in this life, but most importantly, in the life to come.
When our lives are filled with trials, we must be able to look to the future—to heaven—to find the joy that can soothe our weary hearts. Our joy must be based on looking to God and to the inheritance we will receive in heaven. This is exactly what Jesus did. He was able to endure the cross because of the joy that was set before Him (Heb. 12:2). We, too, must realize that the suffering we endure in this life cannot compare with the joy that is laid up for us in heaven.
To be able to count all suffering joyful, we must be able to trust God.
Are you struggling with that kind of confidence in God’s goodness in all things and finding comfort in His sovereign hand in your life, even in your suffering? Ask God to help you find joy in Him alone and to give you a heavenly perspective when you are tempted to allow the present circumstances to consume you.