If running away never solved anything, what’s the alternative? Be

If running away never solved anything, what’s the alternative? Be

An extract from Part 2 of our Resilience Series – Facing Trials by Gavin Gray. Watch the full message below

Have you noticed that there are some words in the bible that we really like!

Words such as faithfulness, goodness, promises, freedom. Yet on the other hand there are also words in the bible that we don’t like as much. Words like hardship, trial, persecution, endurance.

The words we like are all about life being good, enjoyable, and happy, but the words we’re not as happy about are often about life having times of challenge and difficulty.

One reason we dislike words linked to challenge and difficulty is because there’s something inside of us that says, “I can’t take any more pressure because life is already hard enough”. We just want a simple, uncomplicated, easy life.

Emotionally it’s not been an easy couple of years for any of us and the impact is still being outworked in our lives. There’s a lot of people, ourselves included, living life feeling anxious, stressed, overwhelmed. Even on the edge, ready to snap if just one more thing happens.

We don’t like words such as hardship, trial, persecution, endurance because they also conjure up the idea that something has gone wrong.

We’re living in a society that tries to avoid hardship and trial at all costs. A society where we’re taught that if something is hard or doesn’t appear perfect then something is wrong and we need to withdraw away from the source of that hardship ASAP, whether that’s a work context, a family context, a church context, or whatever other context we can think of. We live in a society that encourages us even from a young age to always find the easy way out.

My question is this: what do we do when the answer isn’t to RUN but instead to stand RESOLUTE, to be resilient?

How does the Bible encourage us to respond during these times?

In 2 Corinthians 1:3 Paul reminds us of who God is. Despite going through many trials and times of suffering he declares “praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort”.

He then continues by revealing the extent of the pressure they had been under.

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly
peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:8-10)

It’s safe to say that Paul and his travelling companion, Timothy, had been through a rough time and yet through all of this he acknowledges that God was with them and that they could rely on him no matter how hard things became.

Picking up on this thought again Paul encourages his readers in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 that because of who God is and the reality of him in their lives, “we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed”.

He challenges the believers in Corinth to press through in times of trial as our “momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).

How do we do this? We do so by fixing “our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

When we go through times of challenge and difficultly, we need to constantly remind ourselves that we too can also stand resolute as our God, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort is standing alongside us.

When standing we don’t have to attempt standing in our own strength, but we can stand fully in His strength.

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