Take Heart

By: Lisa Amrhein.

Trials, hardship, and suffering…there will be times in our lives when we will experience them.  That is a reality born out of the fall of humanity in Genesis.  Some would like to think that as a follower of Jesus we would not be subject to suffering, but that is simply not true.  While we still experience the harsh realities of this broken world, we can find hope and strength in a God who carries us through the storms of this life.  

In The Songs of Jesus, Tim and Kathy Keller wrote “The devil wants us to think that God’s promises have failed when we suffer.”  That is one of the many lies he tries to place in our minds.  Jesus did not promise His followers a life free of suffering; in fact, He said that we would have hardships.

“I have told you these things, so that you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  – John 16:33 (NIV)

Jesus does offer us a way to deal with this suffering and that is through Him.  He will give us peace.  We can take heart in knowing that God is bigger than anything that we may face.  He is in control even during a storm.   All we need to do is focus on Him and He will carry us through it.  Reading through Matthew 14:22-36 we see that Peter was able to walk on the water towards Jesus when his eyes stayed fixed upon Him.  It was when Peter’s eyes focused on the wind and water that he began to sink.  During the storms in our lives, as we combat whatever we may be facing, we must turn to Jesus to guide us through it and to be the calm in the storm.  He will help us to know what needs to be done and whatever help we may need.  God is not limited in the things or people that He uses to help us get through our hardships.

We can take comfort in knowing the we follow a God who loves His creation.  The Psalms often praise God for many of His attributes, one of which is His faithfulness in the protection of His people.  

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.  He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. -Psalm 91:1-4 (NIV)

In Psalm 23, David makes it clear that God walks with him through the most difficult times and gives him all that he needs. He describes a God who offers rest, comfort and protection. God offers us the same things when we are suffering. 

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me besides quiet waters and refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” -Psalm 23 (NIV)

Although our lives will not be free from trials and hardships while in this broken world, we can find comfort and rest in God.  For our God is a God who deeply loves His creation.  He will offer us moments of solace and peace during the storms of this life.  He will direct our steps and carry us through our struggles.  I can say this with confidence because he has brought me through the darkest of my days. God will use these moments for our good.  We will not understand at first, but our trials become our testimony to God’s faithfulness.  In a storm?  Looking for some peace, a moment of rest?  Looking for a source of strength?  Keep your eyes upon Jesus.  With Him as your hope, you can get up each morning, show up where needed, move forward, and not quit.

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