“‘So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.'” — Isaiah 41:10
We’ve all seen it happen in the world of sports before: Some athlete finds a way to dig deep under extraordinary circumstances and rises to surprising heights of achievement even when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds. Perhaps it was battling through an injury that would take most people out of the fight, or maybe it was going ahead and playing after experiencing great personal tragedy or loss. It could’ve even been finding a way to compete while sick or coming back from the brink of defeat.
Time and time again, we’ve witnessed moments of tremendous inspiration as somebody pushed themselves past limitations in a way even they didn’t think was possible. More than once, we’ve heard them say in the press afterwards, “I surprised even myself. I didn’t think I had it in me to do that.”
A commentator once remarked during a game I was watching, “Sometimes in life, you don’t know what you have until you use it.” And I truly believe this goes for all of us, regardless of whether we’re athletes. Every person is bound to meet challenging circumstances in their life at some point, forcing them to make a choice as to how they will respond. Those who determine they will find a way to press on often discover a strength within themselves they never knew — a peace they never expected, a hope they never dreamed possible.
Many athletes like to quote Philippians 4:13 (NKJV): “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” And that’s a great truth to claim at all times. But often, we forget that it holds even greater value when we come across tough situations in life. In fact, the truth is that the Apostle Paul, when he penned these words, was sitting in a jail cell and had just stated in the previous verses that he had learned the art of contentment in God regardless of his circumstances. This statement of doing “all things” literally meant even the hard things.
Christ promises that those who put their faith and trust in Him will be given strength to meet whatever comes their way. One of the beautiful things about following Jesus is that difficult times create even bigger opportunities for God to make that truth real in your life. All you have to do is depend on Him. You have the Holy Spirit inside you to help you and give you what you need in that moment. As it says in Isaiah 40:29, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
Coming up against challenges opens the door for you to discover your ability to survive through God’s power, and you won’t learn what that means unless you meet some pain and struggle along the way. Like the commentator observed, you won’t always know what’s inside of you until you need it. And, in God’s way of doing things, that just makes it more amazing.
— Katherine Singer
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