I read a tweet a few days ago, from a wonderful young Christian woman. It said
"Has someone challenged you today? Thank God for them". I got the tweet at just the right time, for I have been challenged and wanted to just walk away from the challenge. The last thing I thought of was thanking God for the challenge. But at the encouragement of @awiserheart, I did just that. I thanked God for the challenge, the way I was feeling about it, (which wasn't so positive), and for knowing that He is there, always there, to help me through and to help me learn from the trials and challenges that are experienced in this life.
And then I thought about the challenges that the hero's of faith faced...
- Noah had his naysayers and the monumental task of building the ark
- Abraham had his unfathomable test to sacrifice Isaac
- Moses has his doubts of his abilities, yet the charge from God to go forth
- David had his giant, Goliath
- Hannah had her barren womb
- King David had his sin before him to admit to and overcome
- and on and on we could go, and we haven't even touched the New Testament heros!
As I spent time in thanks to God, and time in contemplating the heros of faith, I realized several things:
- Challenges are universal yet unique to every individual
- Challenges made every single one of the Old and New Testament characters better and stronger
- Challenges aren't supposed to be a cake walk. They are supposed to be hard, hence the word...CHALLENGE!
- Challenges point us to God, because they point out our inability to conquer the challenge on our own
So yes, yes, yes, thank God for your challenge! The "Thank you" is the beginning of rising to meet your challenge, it is the power needed to get you on the road to meeting that challenge head on, and saying, "Oh no you won't defeat me, I have God with me, every step of the way, in whatever it is I might face."
Whatever or whomever your challenge is; your health (if you are over 50, you understand!), mothering your crew, or money problems, or relationships that need repair, or learning to let go, or nagging doubts of self, or even this relentless winter we are having, stop and Thank God right now, like @awiserheart suggested. It will make all the difference. There is power in praise, power in a thankful heart.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, be immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
I Cor 15: 57-58
Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father. Ephesians 5: 20
I know there are some for whom the challenge is life and death. As I have been reading and researching about Christians in countries where freedom is not found, and worship of God is something that must be hidden, and Bibles are not readily available, I feel a bit of shame that most of our American challenges are so seemingly small. And yet, for the one experiencing a challenge, any challenge, it often feels huge and crippling. For the Christians in far off countries without freedom to worship, you are not forgetten. Your brothers and sisters here do pray for you, and I am now added to that list, as the Spirit has convicted my heart to remember you. May you continue to have courage.