“If you do nothing in a difficult time, your strength is limited.”
– Proverbs 24:10 [CSB]
Many people talk a good game, and I’ll confess even I’ve been guilty of hyping up what I would do in certain situations. It’s easy to evaluate someone else’s life and offer commentary on what measures should or shouldn’t be taken and yet neglect to take action or make decisions on your own. For instance, we watch horror movies or dramatic television and say, “If that were me, I would’ve done this,” yet when “life” happens to us, we aren’t as courageous. Child of God, life indeed happens to us all. If we could ask brother Job, he would tell us, “Man born of a woman is short of days and full of trouble.” We cannot escape the difficulty that comes with every living. Though we are Christians, believers in Christ, this doesn’t inoculate us from experiencing the highs and lows of life. Christian or not, being a parent is hard; believer or not, building a business is taxing. Whether you’re a follower of Christ or not, you will have your share of heartaches, be mistreated, and feel disappointed. We can’t help what happens to us, but we can control how we respond to unwelcome events.
For starters, we have to do more than talk, amen? Saying what we would do means nothing if we don’t actually do something when the moment comes. Don’t allow difficulty to encourage inactivity because if you do nothing, nothing changes. Where would the woman with the issue of blood be if she let her condition influence her position? Instead, she recognized an opportunity within her grueling medical condition. Where would the man lame from his mother’s womb be if his infirmity arrested his activity? You may ask, “What did he do? He only remained at the pool of Bethesda until Jesus arrived.” I would respond, “That may be true, but he got to the pool someway!” Whether carried or crawled, he found a way to mobilize himself while still immobile. Don’t you see? Your difficulty doesn’t have to dictate what you do. In some way, in every trial, there is an opportunity if we’d only seize it.
How many opportunities are forfeited because we failed to act in harsh conditions? How often have we proven our strength to be no greater than the problem we’re facing? The power to move or act while things are calm and controlled is one strength; however, the ability to operate during the chaos, remain reserved when things are out of your control, or keep calm in strenuous times is another degree of strength. Sadly, we can’t choose what life will throw at us, but we can decide how to face arduous situations. I believe God wants us as believers to be strong and firm. The Apostle Paul admonishes us to be “strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” It is in times of adversity that we can display God-given strength.
The Apostle Paul witnessed this firsthand in his own life. When faced with a “thorn in his flesh,” he entreated the Lord to take it away and remove it from his life. He felt it, at worst, a hindrance and, at best, a nuisance. However, the Lord would reveal that this occasion was a fortuitous predicament that would display the Lord’s strength in his life. From this experience, he could undoubtedly pen the words, “Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
Therefore, this also applies to others; according to the Scriptures, we must “bear one another’s burdens.” Further, the Word of God declares, “Ye that are strong bear the infirmities of the weak.” Being strong isn’t for your benefit but for your neighbor, be it a coworker on your job or a fellow believer. God strengthens you so that you can be strong for someone else. Therefore, don’t allow adversity to immobilize you; however, let adversity be the advertisement of an opportunity to act and show forth not simply your strength but the strength God supplies.