Responding to hardship
In this chapter, Paul writes about how followers of Jesus should respond to hardship and suffering in light of the knowledge that God has purchased for us eternal life with Him. It can be easy to be overwhelmed with our present circumstances and lose sight of eternity. Paul urges us to see the distinction between the temporary things in life that pass away compared to the eternal things that have lasting importance. When we continue to trust God and follow Him during our temporary struggles in life, we glorify God in a way that will last forever.
We get to choose our focus
God is intimate and close to us. He cares about the things that overwhelm us and the tough moments in life. This matters because following Jesus is not easy all the time. When we are faced with various hardships like family problems or loneliness, God wants us to choose to focus on Him instead of the struggle right in front of us. We will see more freedom and wholeness in our lives when we take our eyes off our problems and choose to focus on who God is amidst our problems.
Here’s a challenge: Next time you are overwhelmed with school or personal stuff, take some time to remind yourself that God is good, He is for you, and He will help you. Invite God into your everyday circumstances and you will experience more of His peace and more of His victory. Here’s how to practically “fix your eyes” on God: choose to thank God for what He has done and is doing in your life. Paul writes in verse 15 that thanksgiving brings God glory. Thank the Lord for his goodness in the midst of a big test week, and you will start walking into more freedom from stress or heaviness. Thank the Lord for being a Provider when you are in need of financial help or a new job. Your gratitude will speak life into your circumstances.
Pray this prayer as you focus on who God is. Lord, thank you for being a good Father and a faithful friend! Help me to focus on You in the good times and the tough times of life. I pray that when the storms of life hit, I will cling to your goodness and thank you for what you have done in my life. You are my refuge and strength. Amen
- Timothy del Risco