I recently had a blow — with a diagnosis that I had a rare form of crippling arthritis. As this uninvited guest took over my days and nights with chronic pain, my faith was pushed to the breaking point. Thankfully, God in His mercy has stretched and grown me in extraordinary ways. While needing help to get dressed can be very embarrassing and humbling, it builds character.
When life throws us a curveball, it can knock us off our feet, or even worse, put us out of commission. So, why does one person choose to throw in the towel after a single blow, while another decides to get back up and fight the good fight? Because one person accepts God's outstretched hand and the other rejects it. Daily, we need to be reminded that man brought suffering upon us by choosing his own way over God's way. If we hold fast to our faith that God loves us and wants the best for us, especially during hardships, He will empower us with His Holy Spirit. Therefore, as C.S. Lewis wrote, "Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny." For this reason, everyone loves heart-warming movies where the underdogs triumph over their adversaries. They inspire us and motivate us to climb back into the ring and face our own demons head-on!
Although no one welcomes hardships, those who have reached for God's outstretched hand understand and even feel a sense of joy knowing the truth of what Paul wrote:
Romans 5:3-5 – Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (ESV)
If we are struggling today, let us accept God's outstretched hand. He is lovingly and patiently waiting for us to make that choice.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Your love is strong. You have told us that Your plan is not what we would work out, but You reach down in love to pilot us when Your plans don't seem to make sense to us. May we experience the joy that Your presence offers, for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "There Were Ninety And Nine" (Lyrics)