“Everything negative — pressure, challenges — is all an opportunity for me to rise.” ~ Kobe Bryant
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” That is a phrase that, for some people, is a mantra and an inspiration to toughen up and face the hardships ahead. For others, it is merely a phrase but definitely not a rallying cry. There are many who flea opposition, pressure, and challenges. They do not want to confront the challenges lest they be confronted. This is especially true if the challenge may be dangerous.
Because of our tendency to flea persecution and trials, the early Church found itself losing members. As Christianity became illegal and the Christians became persecuted more and more, they were given a choice: continue to adhere to the faith and be put to death or renounce the faith and live. We know what happened. Many renounced their faith in Jesus Christ in order to live. They could not face the persecution that would follow if they remained faithful to the Lord.
What did that do for them or to them? They may have be allowed to live; but, how does one live with oneself knowing that he or she has renounced the Lord of Life? I am sure that despair gnawed at the hearts of many and that their lives were not filled with peace. I also believe that they would have lived in fear as well because once a person has been identified as a Christian, there would always be others who would bring the charge against that person. Over and over again, that person would have to renounce the Lord in order to live.
Our belief in the Lord may get us into trouble. After all, we live in a world diametrically opposed to the Lord and His values. But trouble should not worry us or hinder us. We should hold firm in the knowledge that God cares for His people and sends them all the aid that they need. There have been countless people who have clung to their faith yet, even in their persecution, were shining examples to others. They were given words to say and courage to be examples of hope even in the midst of torture and death.
We all want to go to heaven. And we all want to go to heaven peacefully and happily. Peaceful and happy may not be our lot, however. Some of us may be taken and persecuted for being believers. If we hold firm in our faith, it doesn’t matter what the world does to us because God will help us rise above our fears and our pain and He will bring us home victorious.
FAITH ACTION: Look upon everything that comes your way today, even the negative, as an opportunity to show yourself to be a follower of Christ.