"Every difficulty and every temptation that comes our way,
if we receive it correctly, is God’s opportunity."
[Quote from Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings.]
I read that quote this morning during my quiet time. Hmmm. Something to think about.
Difficulty = Opportunity.
Oh yes, I think I'd like to get in line for some of that opportunity--two extra scoops, please! Sorry, my sarcasm is showing. Honestly, difficulty is not something anybody looks forward to.
As I sit here, I'm processing what's already been a difficult week for my family and it doesn't show signs of letting up any time soon. Thankfully, there have also been some wonderful moments this week.
The devotional went on to talk about how David's run-in with a lion was an opportunity for God to show David that God was with him and through God he could face whatever came his way. When these "lions" come into our own lives we should recognize it as an opportunity from the Lord, "no matter how fierce it may outwardly seem."
So it appears that the "lions"we face today help us to face the "Goliaths" of the future. I don't know whether these current difficulties are lions or Goliaths. I suspect they are a little of both. When I've gone through difficulties in the past they sure seemed like Goliaths in the moment they were happening. Then sometime later, when a new difficulty arose, I looked back and thought, "that was nothing compared to now."
Shortly after reading this devotional, I listened to a sermon by Charles Stanley. His message was about having courage in the midst of a difficult time. Funny how the Lord orchestrates these things! He used Paul as an example of someone who had courage to persevere despite many difficulties. One would say he had to Endure (my One Word for the year 2014). Ah-ha! Then the phrase that popped into my head during this message was...
Don't Give Up!
This was a phrase I heard many times during another difficult time. It was always a sweet reminder to have hope in God, to keep praying, to persevere, and most of all to trust God.
I'll end with the following scripture and a link to a favorite song:
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed.
We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.
We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God.
We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.
Through suffering, our bodies continue to share
in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus
may also be seen in our bodies.
2 Corinthians 4:8
2 Corinthians 4:8
This is my command—be strong and courageous!
Do not be afraid or discouraged.
For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.