We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. Romans 5:3:4 (NLT)
My word for 2013 is “hope” and I recently completed Sarah Young’s devotional, Jesus Today, Experience Hope Through His Presence. She wrote this particular one when she was going through some very difficult health challenges and God gave her hope.
Sometimes, life is just not fair. When we signed up for this Christian life, we thought it would all be rosy. And then the trials hit and we’re thrown off balance, take a tumble, and may be angry about it.
I have a friend who is struggling in a relationship that makes no sense and all this person wants is for it TO make sense. Or, depression hits, the darkness closes in, and all we want is for the pain to go away.
I’ve heard people say that God will not give us more than we can bear. I’ve thought about this and did a little research. Actually God says:
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it. I Corinthians 10:13 (HCSB)
We won’t be tempted beyond our ability to cope but nowhere are we promised a free ride. In fact, the promises come for help in the middle of the difficulty:
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. Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. 2 Corinthians 2:9-10 (The Message)
This is my take-away lesson: hardship produces endurance which develops character so that I can experience joyful hope. Joyful? Hope? Yes.
Amen and amen.