Enduring the Journey Of Life’s Challenges


Remember this: God may not do what you want, but he will do what is right and best. He’s the Father of forward motion. Trust him. He will get you home. And the trials of the trip will be lost in the joys of the feast. –Max Lucado[1]

Each of us will face, are facing, or have faced difficult times in our lives. Whether it’s a loss of a job or a loved one, a surprise diagnosis of serious illness, or merely awkwardly attempting to jog one more mile, we encounter personal challenges and trials. Trails are a part of life’s journey.

So, how do we endure them? How do we keep perspective? My own experience tells me that a critical factor in facing trials is my attitude toward them. Pastor David Jeremiah wrote something that better expresses what I’m thinking, “I’m referring to a kind of life that doesn’t eliminate the occasional blue Monday but powerfully transcends it.”[2]

Our attitude can control how we react, and while many trials are not fun or logical, we can develop a biblical perspective similar to the Apostle Paul. He wrote to the Corinthians, “We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.”[3]

Here we have a glimpse of Paul and his comrades. They are spiritual giants who knew God’s Word, planted churches, and tried arduously to discover God’s will for their lives. Yet, these men and women faced tremendous trials. Why? What was the reason? How did they endure the journey?

I believe there are four ways we endure trials:

1) With Humility. Our pride is a huge problem. As you read the Bible, you’ll find that God doesn’t work through prideful people. He works through humble people who look to Him first as they journey through the challenges they face.  In 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul reminds us, “So that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me—a  messenger of satan to torment me, so I would not exalt myself.[4]. Paul’s thorn kept him humble as he journeyed and faced challenges.

2) Seeking God’s Presence. We always need to go to Him because we love Him, not for what He can do for us. Looking to Paul again, he wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of our trouble that happened in Asia. We were under great pressure—so far beyond our strength that we despaired even of living. In fact, we had within ourselves the death sentence—so that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead.” We need to be close to God and entirely depend on Him—His will, His way, and His timing.

3) Recognize that Testing Makes Us Stronger. It’s true. We don’t know what we believe until it is put to the test. This past year has been full of tests for us, but this kind of testing has solidified our faith well beyond how deep we felt our faith previously was. The Apostle Peter wrote, “These trials are so that the true metal of your faith (far more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire) may come to light in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Messiah [Jesus] Yeshua.”.

4) Help Other People. In this past year, we realize that we can’t relate to other people if we don’t experience trials or tests. Going through similar trials prepares us to empathize and encourage other people. I don’t believe we’re called to blurt out our own story. There’s a time and a place for that. When someone is hurting, though, having gone through trials provides us with a loving listening ear and tenderized heart of compassion. 2 Corinthians 1:4 reminds us, “He encourages us in every trouble, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any trouble, through the very encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God.” Friends, God is the source of all comfort for us as we journey through trials, so we can go to others with that same comfort.

“Regardless, with each adversity comes the glorious opportunity for spiritual growth. The key to adversity is your response. The apostle Paul submitted himself to the will of God, and adversity became a dynamic teacher of God’s wondrous truth.”[5]

What are you facing today? Humbly come before God. Seek His Presence. Endure and know your faith is being tested and stand firmly on His promises. Then, find someone you can encourage and help.

[1] Max Lucado, The Path to Greatness Studies on Trials, Inspirational Bible Study Series (Dallas, TX: Word Pub., 2000), 40–41.

[2] David Jeremiah, Life Wide Open: Unleashing the Power of a Passionate Life (Nashville: Integrity Publishers, 2003), 3.

[3] Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005), 2 Co 4:8–9.

[4] Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society, Holy Scriptures: Tree of Life Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2015), used for the following passages: 2 Co 12:7, 2 Co 1:8–9, 1 Pet. 1:7, 2 Co. 1:4.

[5] Charles F. Stanley, Dealing With Life’s Pressures, electronic ed. (Atlanta: In Touch Ministries, 1997).

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