I was recently punched by a period of discouragement and disappointment. In fact, the struggle seemed to stay with me and no matter how I tried to shake it off, I couldn’t. This only added to my frustration, because I knew I knew better. It was as if discouragement had a grip on me and was fighting to hang on. It wasnt until I let go of my personal biases and surrendered my desires to instead trust God with the outcomes that the shackles of discontentment began to shake loose. In life we will always face difficulties, distractions, disappointments and defeats. However, even though we know this, it doesn’t mean we will be happy about it. Thankfully, victory in overcoming is accomplished through Christ alone and in remembering His unbreakable promises to us:
Altitude: When the darts of difficulty strike, we must maintain our altitude, rather than spiral into a crash and burn scenario. In other words, we must keep our focus on Jesus. For He is still in control. He is still God. He is still all powerful and greater than anything we face. He is our hope and when our eyes are fixed on Him, we can maintain clarity and hold our heads high in the darkest of times (Psalm 16:8).
Gratitude: We may not like our circumstances and desire them to depart as quickly as possible, but that doesn’t mean we need to abandon our hope in Christ. For we can still be thankful for the opportunities our challenges create in allowing us to trust Him more, draw closer to Him in prayer, and to be used by Him as He strengthens our faith. For even though God doesn’t promise us freedom from difficulty, He does promise to never leave us alone and powerless – and that’s something we can all be thankful for (Philippians 4:6).
Attitude: When we focus on our Lord and maintain a spirit of gratitude, a powerful transformation begins to affect our attitude. We discover our endurance grows, and like an athlete in training, we are able to go farther, persevere longer and grow stronger. Then, as soon as His desired time has come, the fog of our difficulties begin to lift, along with our burdens. In their place, we discover the promises of faith, hope and love only Christ’s peace can provide (Proverbs 17:22).
Application: “Rise Above” (1 Peter 1:13)
I recently saw a video of a man walking a tightrope across the Grand Canyon. Apparently, this wasn’t his first time crossing over dangerous terrain. However, over time, he grew in confidence, skill and ability. Likewise, there are many “high wire” situations we will find ourselves in throughout life, but with God, we are never alone. Instead, He guides us safely across our difficulties so that when the next one comes our way, we too have grown more confident, but not only in our abilities, but in Christ’s provision, protection, plans and purposes.