A few years ago, Brian was telling a bit of our testimony (house fire, infertility struggles, car wreck, inherited church troubles with the IRS, eventual failed church plant, Kelly’s brain malformation.) The listener said, “Man, you seem cursed.” Brian laughed and told the man, “I feel like the most blessed man alive.” Perhaps, our understanding of life depends upon our interpretation of the story.
Life lesson: Struggles have value
In reading the last few chapters of Acts (25-28) I noticed Paul was arrested, jailed, tried four times, shipwrecked, snake bitten, and imprisoned for over two years. Yet, he felt blessed! His faith was strong! He even encouraged the captain and crew of the ship which was tossed about in the sea, saying ”God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said.” (Acts 27:24, 25) Even in the darkest moment at sea, Paul said “Please eat something now for your own good. For not a hair of your heads will perish.”(Acts 27:34) Paul knew God had a plan. He didn’t just believe it, he KNEW it as truth. Yes, he was “suffering” and even “cursed” as the ship’s crew believed after he was snake bitten, but Paul KNEW better. Witness his testimony to the believers, “So a time was set, and on that day a large number of people came to Paul’s lodging. He explained and testified about the Kingdom of God and tried to persuade them about Jesus from the Scriptures.” (Acts 28:23) Paul was able to speak the truth to leading priests, rulers, judges, the ship’s captain and crew, people all along his journey, and large crowds in Rome.
Paul’s struggles had great value. He was given a platform to present The Way. He was given protection to speak the truth. He was given healing power to draw people to Christ. He was healed so that others could see the power of the resurrection.
What about you? What struggles have you endured? What difficulties have you faced only to learn an important lesson or see truth revealed? What story has God given you? PROCLAIM it! Your struggles are proof of the steadfast love, faith, and hope we have in Christ. TESTIFY today! Your story is your trophy. Hold it high! He has plans for you!