“I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 NIV).
Have you ever faced a hard time in life? Maybe you're facing one where your finances are low, or your marriage is in trouble. Perhaps you’ve lost a loved one or are currently struggling with your place in life.
A few years ago, I faced a difficult time when I lost my place in life. Ramen noodles filled the emptiness in my stomach. Feeling as if I had little to offer, I tried staying in the background in everything I did. I didn’t want people to notice me because I felt like I had nothing to offer. The truth is, I believed God had forgotten me.
Thankfully, an older woman at my church noticed me. I couldn’t understand why she'd decided to mentor me at the time. However, Saturdays, she invited me to go shopping with her. Following her into various stores, we discussed clothes, sheets, towels, furniture, living for Jesus Christ, and various topics, including people. She provided insight, friendship, and connection to God. She exemplified Jesus Christ in the flesh. This woman allowed me to go where she went by exposing me to different people and experiences. She allowed me to ask hundreds of questions. On some days, I taxed her goodwill, but she still persevered. I realized my mentor decided to contend for our relationship, choosing to see Christ formed in her and me. She probably saw more in me than I saw in myself.
Looking back on that time, I have come to understand several things:
1. The struggle to live for Jesus Christ is real. Trials and suffering are a part of the life of every Christian. Each battle is based on how we walk out our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. In 1 Peter 4:12 (NLT), Peter says, “. . . do not be surprised at the fiery trials that you are going through . . .”
2. Our trials and suffering should be counted as a privilege, not a curse. Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 4:16 to “Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name (NLT).”
3. Even though we struggle, Christ gives us strength (Philippians 4:13).
4. We each have cheerleaders to help us overcome our trials and suffering. My friend consistently encouraged and prayed for me through my struggle. Hebrews 12:1 says that we have a “great cloud of witnesses to our life of faith (NLT).” (I think of these witnesses as those who currently partner with us here on earth in our walk of faith and those who have gone before us in Jesus Christ.)
5. God never fails us if we suffer in a manner that pleases God and “keep on doing what is right and trust our lives to the God who created us” (1 Peter 4:19).
As we face suffering and trials, let us remember that on the Christian journey, we're not alone. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for providing us with cheerleaders. Help us never forget that You never fail us no matter the circumstance. Thank You for being with us and guiding our steps through trials and suffering. Amen.
Your turn: Is there a battle you're facing right now? Do you have a success story you'd like to share?