Persevering Through the Tough Times

"And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith."   Hebrews 12:1

Recently, I read a statistic that 72% of American homes were watching the Super Bowl on February 5th.  Were you one of them?

If so, you had the opportunity to witness one of the most amazing comebacks in Super Bowl history!  With a score of Patriots 3 to Falcons 21 at the end of the first half, I thought the game was over at the conclusion of the halftime show.  The lack of excitement from the game  served as a lullaby for Ken, so I decided to leave him asleep on the couch, and be productive by going grocery shopping.  I have to admit that as I wandered through the aisles of Kroger, it felt as if I was in a ghost town, with the exception of the employees frantically trying to restock the snack foods.
One cashier's lane was all that was needed to take care of the handful of customers, but as I took my place in line, I could not help but notice the man in front of me with his phone volume blaring and his eyes glued to his screen.  Out of curiosity, I asked, "What's the score?"  My jaw hit the floor when he replied, "21 to 28, and the Patriots' have possession of the ball!"
"What happened?" I ignorantly asked, to which the gentleman replied, "That must have been some pep talk in the Patriots' locker room during half time!"
Whether you're a fan or not, can you imagine how easily it would have been for the Patriots' quarterback, Tom Brady, to feel defeated at halftime?  When he walked off the field and saw that scoreboard of 3 to 21, how hard it must have been to conceive the thought that there was still hope?  Talk about your perfect example to stay encouraged and persevere!
Have you ever had that type of Tom Brady moment?  Perhaps it wasn't looking at a scoreboard, but maybe it was listening to a difficult diagnosis, or opening an unexpected bill, or reading a hurtful email, or learning of a betrayal from someone you considered a friend?
Hebrews 12: 1 - 3 states:  "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
So the million dollar question is... when situations look hopeless, how do we as Christians persevere?  Recently, I had this discussion with a group of friends, and the following suggestions were shared:

  • Ask for God to help you look for the positive and focus on that - not the negative aspects of the situation
  • Pray for strength, wisdom, and guidance to persevere through this situation
  • Listen to encouraging Christian music
  • Cling to a portion of Scripture such as Romans 8:28 that states God will work all things for good, or Proverbs 3:5 & 6 that states "Trust in the Lord with your whole heart and lean not on your own understanding", or  Joshua 1:9 that reminds us that God has perfect plans for each of us
  • Seek friends that will give Godly counsel, not necessarily what we want to hear
  • Be encouraged by Hebrews 12: 1 that there are other Christians rooting and praying for you
  • Remember that God can use this situation to grow you closer, and more dependent on Him. So keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

So the next time you are facing a giant size challenge, remember that we have a giant size God who can help us get through any situation.
Have a wonderful week knowing that God will always be on the sidelines, cheering you on to run the race He has designed for you!
In His love,
Mrs. Palka

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