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“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Sometimes we get the idea that ‘Bible People’ were somehow a different species of animals. Not really human, not really susceptible to the same emotions, struggles and trials we have. They were from a different time with fewer struggles, they had a closer handle on life and faith…and God. Some of us even write them off as good characters from some novel. Not real, even though realistic.

Fact of the matter is, the stories of the Bible are stories of real people with real struggles surprisingly like our own. Sure, they didn’t have internet or electricity. They didn’t have to worry about a global economy. High gas prices wouldn’t be developed for centuries. But don’t let that keep you from the realization that these are real people with real problems.

They still struggled with relationship issues like divorce and dysfunctional families. There were still time issues and disease to contend with. Politics were just as dangerous as they are today, maybe even more so for some. There was worry and racism and gossip and religious intolerance.

So how did they manage? How did people like the Apostle Paul deal with the issues in his life of several near death experiences, enduring the verbal attacks of people who he sought to love and extend the Grace of God too? Where did he turn when tempted to lash out or lust attacked, or disappointment set in? What encouraged him when he was afraid of the future?

Paul tells us that he learned the secret. There were times in his ministry when people around him supported him emotionally, physically and spiritually. During those times he enjoyed the comfort and contentment of having a warm place to sleep and a full stomach.

There were other times when the hunger was unbearable. The only thing that hurt worse were the accusations, the harassment and the lies that were told about him. There were times he felt completely alone and wondered if his work of ministry was worth the pain.

So what was this secret of Paul’s stability? He learned that in times of need or times of plenty it was his reliance on Christ that kept him strong. The human soul was never created to endure life struggles alone. By our very essence we need a helper to keep us strong during the tough times. Sometimes that strength comes from leaning on others, but there are times when the only solace we have is in Christ. He longs to comfort you, embrace you and lift you up.

Regardless of what you are struggling with; or what others have done to you in your past; or what worries you about the future, Jesus Christ came to strengthen your heart to endure. He didn’t come to remove the trials; he came to walk through them with you.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you for the power you have to support me. During the trying times may I remember that it is you, only you that I need to make my way through life. Amen.

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Remember the story about the little engine that surprised himself and everyone else when he was able to carry the huge load over the mountain? The other ‘trains’ came up with all sorts of excuses for why the project couldn’t be done. Only the little blue engine considered trying to pull the long train over the mountain. He pulled and strained and worked with all the determination inside him, all the while saying “I think I can.” Finally, he DID!

That silly little children’s story carries a huge message to us as Christ-followers. Each of us faces struggles and trials that seem like huge mountains in our path. Some of those mountains are mountains of our own doing. We’ve dug ourselves in a hole in relationships or poor choices. We face mountains of debt either of our own doing or because of some economic disaster. We stand at the edge of a huge canyon filled with doubt, worry or regret.

As we stand and survey the problem there will be those who will say, “You may as well just learn to deal with it. You can’t change things.” Others will give all sorts of reasons why they can’t help or a whole list of reasons why you shouldn’t be in this position in the first place (like that will help with the solution).

All of these nay-Sayers offer no practical help, but in reality the biggest enemy to conquering the seemingly impossible is you! The little engine didn’t look at the size of the load. The little engine didn’t consider the words of the others who refused to help. It didn’t look at its own size. Rather than considering all the reasons why it couldn’t be done, the little engine decided within him that he ‘thought he could do it.’

As we face the challenges of daily living, whether that be debt, worry, shame, guilt, relational issues or any other obstacle, we have one thing the little engine didn’t have. We have the promise of our Heavenly Father that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is beside us, helping us all the way through. It’s not by our strength and determination that we’ll conquer the issues ahead of us. It is by our reliance on His strength that we’ll be able to overcome.

Whether the challenge you face is of your own doing, or the result of someone else’s greedy and abusive action. You can overcome with the strength Jesus will give you. Draw close to Him in relationship. Ignore those who doubt your ability to move on. Trust His strength to carry you through.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank you for your promise to stand with me in every situation. I’m looking a huge challenge in face today and I’m not sure how I’m going to succeed. Others haven’t given me much hope. My past and my own lack of self-confidence keeps me paralyzed with fear. I ask that you would help me to rely on your power and strength to move forward in confidence and strength. With you by my side I don’t just ‘think I can’, I KNOW WE CAN. Thank you for that promise. Amen.

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