GOD’S PURPOSE FOR LIFE’S TRIALS
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. JAMES 1:2–4 NIV
Albert Einstein once made an amazingly insightful observation about dealing with life’s difficulties when he said, “Adversity introduces a man to himself.”
When life brings difficulties our way (and it most certainly will), we see where we’re really at in our walk with our heavenly Father. The old analogy holds true: When you squeeze a sponge (you being the sponge) hard enough, you’re sure to see what’s inside.
God never promised His people an easy ride through life. In fact, the Bible is very clear—in many passages—that trials, storms, and suffering will be part of every believer’s life. If you don’t believe that, just take a look at the lives of the apostles, the men Jesus chose to take His message of salvation to the world around them. We’re talking imprisonment, beatings, even martyrdom for nearly all of them.
God also doesn’t just automatically make you a patient person when you get saved, and He doesn’t instantly make you a person of great perseverance, either. Instead, He uses a process whereby the trials and storms in your life strengthen you and make you the patient, persevering man He intends for you to be.
So when the going gets tough…rejoice!
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
– Proverbs 17:22
“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.”
– Proverbs 12:25
. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
– Philippians 4:8
“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”
— Zig Ziglar
“In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.”
— Dalai Lama
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.”
— Willie Nelson
“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”
— Lyndon B. Johnson
Leaders Leading Leaders
A teenager lived alone with his father, and the two of them had a very special relationship. The father believed in encouragement. Even though the son was always on the bench, his father was always in the stands cheering. He never missed a game.
This young man was the smallest of the class when he entered high school. His father continued to encourage him but also made it very clear that he did not have to play football if he didn’t want to.
But the young man loved football and decided to hang in there. He was determined to try his best at every practice, and perhaps he would get to play when he became a senior.
All through high school he never missed a practice or a game, but remained a bench warmer all four years. His faithful father was always in the stands, always with words of encouragement for him. When the young man went to college, he decided to try out for the football team as a “walk-on.”
Everyone was sure he could never make the cut, but he did. The coach admitted that he kept him on the roster because he always puts his heart and soul to every practice, and at the same time, provided the other members with the spirit and hustle they badly needed. The news that he had survived the cut thrilled him so much that he rushed to the nearest phone and called his father.
His father shared his excitement and was sent season tickets for all the college games. This persistent young athlete never missed practice during his four years at college, but he never got to play in the game.
It was the end of his senior football season, and as he trotted onto the practice field shortly before the big play off game, the coach met him with a telegram. The young man read the telegram and he became deathly silent.
Swallowing hard, he mumbled to the coach, “My father died this morning. Is it all right if I miss practice today?”
The coach put his arm gently around his shoulder and said, “Take the rest of the week off, son. And don’t even plan to come back to the game on Saturday.” Saturday arrived, and the game was not going well.
In the third quarter, when the team was ten points behind, a silent young man quietly slipped into the empty locker room and put on his football gear. As he ran onto the sidelines, the coach and his players were astounded to see their faithful team-mate back so soon.
“Coach, please let me play. I have just got to play today,” said the young man.
The coach pretended not to hear him. There was no way he wanted his worst player in this close playoff game. But the young man persisted, and finally feeling sorry for young man, the coach gave in. “All right,” he said. “You can go in.” Before long, the coach, the players and everyone in the stands could not believe their eyes. This little unknown, who had never played before, was doing everything right. The opposing team could not stop him. He ran, he passed, blocked and tackled like a star. His team began to triumph.
The score was soon tied. In the closing seconds of the game, this young man intercepted a pass and ran all the way for the winning touchdown. The fans broke loose. His team-mates hoisted him onto their shoulders. Such cheering you have never heard!
Finally, after the stands had emptied and the team had showered and left the locker room, the coach noticed that the young man was sitting quietly in the corner all alone. The coach came to him and said, “Young man, I can’t believe it. You were fantastic! Tell me what got into you? How did you do it?”
Young man looked at the coach, with tears in his eyes, and said, “Well, you knew my dad died, but did you know that my dad was blind?” The young man swallowed hard and forced a smile, “Dad came to all my games, but today was the first time he could see me play, and I wanted to show him I could do it!”
“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.”
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”