Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write an INSPIRATIONAL article (11/27/14)
TITLE: CELEBRATE THE TOUGH TIMES
By Hope Fulliam
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Who could possibly revel in adversity? The apostle Paul did. He said, “…I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties” (2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV). I had trouble swallowing this. Problems aren’t fun; in fact, they can be downright agonising! Was the man some kind of masochist? I thought, thanks, Paul, but I’ll pass on the troubles and the tribulations, if you don’t mind!
Only when I myself was mired in a steady procession of trials did I come to appreciate Paul’s perspective and wisdom.
Here’s some perspective: Life does not allow me (or anyone else) to “pass” on problems and neither does God. We can either accept them and hold onto the hope that better days are ahead or we can be miserable and futilely shake our fists at whoever or whatever we choose to blame.
And here is why Paul was far wiser than I am: He got direct revelation from God. God told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV). The tough times are the ideal background to showcase our weaknesses. But weaknesses aren’t to be looked at as opportunities for self-condemnation. We will make mistakes as long as we live and maybe we even had a hand in bringing the troubles upon ourselves, but God does not discriminate in who He loves, forgives and wants to help. Weaknesses are opportunities for us to have our own revelation — that we need God in our lives and cannot overcome our difficulties without Him.
Sometimes we have to reach the point where there is nothing between us and our trials but God. That includes getting logic, pride and self-reliance out of His way so He can do His best work. We are drawn closer to God when we need His help. We talk to Him more; we turn to scripture in search of the comfort of His promises; we get to know Him better. As Christians, we commit to developing a relationship with God and to spreading word of His love to others. Is that love not usually acknowledged to be most potent and evident when God rescues us from the deepest of valleys? Remember, it is in the dark, in the midst of trouble, where God’s light is most stunning. Only when we have experienced such glorious mercy and triumph for ourselves, by way of trial, are we best equipped to shout of God’s love and testify to others who may be in need of hope and salvation.
So, yes, though in my weakness I am shoved to my knees by a maelstrom of trials, I can see beyond the turbulence to God’s throne of grace, which has always been set directly before me, offering peace and hope and joy. The great apostle Paul (to whom I extend my most humble apology) was right. I will celebrate now, in the tough times, because God never leaves me and will show Himself magnificently in the heart of my troubles and weakness. The glory is His! When the trails are over, I will have a mighty tale of victory to tell about God’s power, faithfulness and love.
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