The new year holds an air of excitement and opportunity for some, while for others they are experiencing uncertainty due to the economy, world conflict, political issues and personal tragedy.
Trials come to us all, in fact they are promised to us. In the past five days, I became aware of three friends who are facing extremely challenging circumstances. One, although highly educated and with significant high-level executive management experience, has been unemployed for eleven months. Another friend suffered a major heart attack and is struggling for survival as I write this post. And just this morning, I learned that the spouse of a high school friend died last night.
When we are faced with seemingly overwhelming circumstances, it seems like it would be easier to just simply “give up.” Some people tell us to “never give up.” My friend Bob Hamp, a pastor at Gateway Church tells people who are considering giving up, that he highly recommends it. Too often we are fighting our troubles all by ourselves.
When we wrestle with flesh and blood we are in fact fighting ourselves. Think of it as of arm-wrestling with yourself. (It’s really hard to win that battle.) We were never meant to fight these battles alone. We need to remind ourselves that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
So, what do we do when faced with great tests of courage? Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
The Apostle Paul, writing in 2 Timothy 1:6-7 said “For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift that was given to you by the laying on of my hands, for God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Keep in mind that Paul was writing to Timothy, whose qualifications were significant, his education and training were second to none, his resume read, “Assistant to the Apostle Paul,” and yet Timothy’s fire was dying and needed to be stirred up.
So I recommend that your stir the flame of purpose in your life. Discover what you are passionate about and begin doing something actively with your gift that will benefit others. Find a way to give back to your family, your community, your world.