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Devotional: August 4, 2021

When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you’re just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you’re going to make it, no doubt about it.

Second Corinthians 1: 6-7 The Message

Confidence in the future is one of the benefits of enduring hard times. Making it through those hard times can give us confidence when new challenges come our way. The Apostle Paul inspires the congregation at Corinth so see this important truth.

If we have never faced hard times, we don’t know how we will do. Will we survive? Will the storm overcome us? When we are untested, we just do not know for certain. Most of us, however, have experienced challenges or suffering at some point in our lives. Whether physical, spiritual or emotional, challenges are part of life.

When we have been through hard times, we grow confident in our ability to get through future difficulties. As we watch the world’s athletes compete at the Olympic games, confidence to accomplish amazing athletic feats comes from practice and experience. Both the joy of winning and the sorrow of defeat are part of these athletes' experience. Can you imagine if any of these athletes quit after the first mistake? Or a low score? These Olympic athletes have learned the value of perseverance. They have also not done it alone. From parents, to teammates, to coaches: they have been given encouraging words.

We are called upon to do the same for others, and to remember this truth for ourselves. The next time you face a daunting challenge in your own life, remember the times when God brought you through past challenges. Also, remember those on the sidelines, cheering you on. Paul drew on the knowledge that the Corinthians were “spurring him on to face forward, unflinching”. As we tackle each new challenge, we need to do so in the same way. Know that others are pulling for you, praying for your success, and ready to offer a word of encouragement when you need one.

As Paul writes, “Your hard times are our hard times.” We Christians overcome challenges and difficulties by drawing strength from both the Lord, and from our Christians brothers and sisters. With such a team, there is no challenge we cannot overcome!

Prayer

God of power and might,

You know the challenges I face today, and every day. Let me not shrink back, and lose hope, even in the face of difficulties which seem to be overwhelming. Instead, help me to find my strength in You, remembering all the instances when You have brought me through hard times in the past. Remind me also of the body of Christ, my Christians sisters and brothers, who are with me in spirit during those challenges. Thank you for providing them to pray for, and encourage me. I pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.


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