CHALLENGES? Yes, I have challenges in my life. I can’t remember a time that I never had challenges present with me. Some may think that strange but I don’t. I come from a generation and a life environment that was very challenging and those challenges were accepted as just a normal part of life. Challenges did not stop when I entered the military or got married or when we had children. In fact challenges in life seemed to increase at that time. When I became a Christian some challenges became even more difficult but the new birth in Jesus gave me more resources with which to face the challenges. I noticed also that when God called me and my family into full-time vocational Christian service that it seemed the challenges increased instead of decreasing. Moving 2,000 miles and attending and graduating from college and seminary in my late twenties and early thirties with a family to support and working a full-time job was certainly a challenge. That was in the days before online education. In fact online didn’t even exist along with no personal computers. But then a number of my friends and colleagues faced the same challenges. I really didn’t hear any of them whining and very few of them failed to conquer the challenges. With God’s help most of us survived those challenges. What would life be like without challenges? I certainly get tired today listening to all the whiners around us and those who seek “safe spaces” and cannot face up to challenges in life. It is not that I like or enjoy every challenge I face but it is an indication I am still alive and God is still working in my life.
As I have aged I can look back over life at some of the challenges I have faced in life and smile that I ever considered them a challenge. Growth in our relationship with God tends to allow us to see that God meant it when He said in His book, “No temptation (test) has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted (tested) beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted (tested), he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it,” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV). Christians are able to face temptations, testings, and challenges in life successfully with God’s assistance. All of us will have challenges in life no matter our background and no matter our beginning situation in life. Challenges can make us grow in many ways that a non-challenging life cannot. Challenges can invigorate your life or degrade your life depending on your response to your situation. This we know, we serve a great and mighty God. The bigger the challenge the greater is the opportunity for God to show His mighty power. God put it this way, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is there anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27 NIV). The expected answer is No! Great challenges. Great God. Great answers. My challenge at this time of my life is expressed by these words from the Psalmist, “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come,” (Psalm 71:18 NIV). It is a great challenge and I expect a great answer from a great God. What is the big challenge confronting you today?