Are you facing any trials in your life right now? Difficulties at the office? Division at home? Disconnection in a friendship? Disappointment in school? Regardless of the difficulties you are experiencing, the source of the strength to endure them is always the same. And, of course, we’ll find that source through our study of God’s inspired, inerrant, infallible Word.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
Peter is telling us that we will face all kinds of trials in this life that will cause us to suffer grief, but there is also one supreme source of strength by which we can bear up under them: our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Who would have understood this truth better than Peter’s contemporary and co-laborer for Christ, the apostle Paul? Of the 13 letters Paul penned in the New Testament, five were written from prison. He opened his letter to Philemon by calling himself, “Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus,” and he wrote to the Ephesian Christians that he was “a prisoner of Christ Jesus for [your] sake” (Ephesians 3:1).
Throughout his ministry, Paul was persecuted, put in prison, and ultimately put to death. Yet, he boasted about his life, a life marked by storms and suffering, because those trials pointed to the One who was giving Paul the necessary strength to get through them. Paul wrote:
I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
Paul delighted in everything that you and I would normally dread . . . “for Christ’s sake.” He knew his weakness was merely a platform that would display the strength and glory of God to all the world. Paul was preaching the Gospel with both his lips and his life. He practiced what he preached and God got all the glory.
Paul lived this life of supernatural strength despite harsh trials—what he called “hardships” and “difficulties”—that you and I can scarcely imagine. Almost every act of service to His Savior brought suffering, as he recounted in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28.
- He suffered through sleepless nights.
- He suffered through dangers in the wilderness.
- He suffered through hunger and thirst.
- He suffered through severe beatings, so many that he lost count of them all.
- He suffered through three shipwrecks and once spent a full day adrift on the open sea.
- He even suffered from his own anxiety due to his care for all the churches.
And yet, through it all, Paul was sustained by the strength of His Savior. You see, Paul knew why he was suffering—for the advancement of the Gospel—and because he kept his focus on the “why” behind what he was doing, he could advance through seasons of suffering.
So . . . what supernatural strength do you need today to get through the trials you are facing? Remember, when you feel most weak, that’s when Jesus shows up strong in your life.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!