Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
When I face situations that are difficult, on the small day to day level, or the big life changing level, I always try to find information on how to handle it from those who have faced the same situations and survived them.
When it comes to getting through challenging life circumstances with faith in God still intact and not just intact but growing, there is no one better to turn to than Paul. He’s the man who persecuted followers of Jesus, but then he had his moment of revelation when he was blinded by God on the road to Damascus. He knew Jesus was alive. He committed to life as a follower, in the most whole hearted and extravagant way possible. He was jailed, beaten, whipped, ship wrecked, ostracized, denounced as a consequence of his faith, but it made no difference to his desire to follow Jesus.
One of the things I love about the bible is how real it is. The characters are often people I can relate to. Their lives are complicated and messy and mundane and confusing. And they work out their faith in God within the mess. Paul is one of the most real. Paul writes about how he doesn’t do the good things he wants to do, but instead he keeps on doing the not so good things. He isn’t some kind of super saint, or super hero. He’s just a man. And that’s why I’m really interested to read what he knew about hope, and how he lived in the difficulties.
I’m taking on his words today. I will write more about each element over the next few days, but for today – someone else has walked where you walk. Someone understands what you are feeling. You are not excluded from the promise of hope or the love of God. Keep walking.