Challenges or Opportunities?

”So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure” (2 Cor 4:17-18).

One thing I have noticed about us as christians is that we do not like challenge, trial or tribulation. What makes christians different than non-christians is that we seem to take these things personally. Often I hear unrealistic shame in words like “my son wouldn’t have done this if I had been a better mother”,“if I hadn’t of let her go out tonight”, “if I had been a more loving wife, my husband would not have looked elsewhere” . We take personal responsibility for things that are not ours to take or feel that it is our personal failing that led us to this place of pain.

Other times I hear words like God must be angry at me; He must want to punish me; He does not have a good plan for my life. There is disappointment with God and anger because we feel He is failing us in some way, that He does not truly love us or want the best for us.

All of these thoughts are directly from the thief that comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). The truth taught all throughout Scripture is that God loves you; He calls you by name; and He has a wonderful plan for your life, a plan to give you a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Graham Cooke teaches a different perspective on challenges. Graham calls these things “opportunities”. I wonder how our perspective could change if we could embrace each of our challenges as “opportunities”. Paul’s words could be much more of our reality in that we would not lose heart; instead, in the challenges God could be shaping us, ministering to us, making us to be more like His Son. Sharon Hersh calls this the invitation to walk into the arms of Jesus.

There is no place I would rather be than in the arms of Jesus! Nothing drives us there like pain. Sometimes pain is the greatest gift! The abundant life is not just found in the good times. The abundant life is found in the Lord.

Can you allow The Lord to meet you in your place of struggle today? What do you think He wants to be for you at this time? Will you accept the invitation to walk into the arms of Jesus?

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