Have you ever met that one person who just always seems to light up the room when they arrive? I mean, they have this kind of personality of hope and joy and their like always smiling. They walk in confidence. They always seem to be happy.
Even when they tell you the bad stuff they’re facing, they have this reassuring smile on their face, like they know everything is going to be OK. They carry about them this sense of strength and stability even though there might be earthquakes in their lives. They exude this sense of hope and peace even when the flood waters are rising and threatening. Maybe you’re that person.
That’s what I think of when I read the words in the Bible written by the Apostle Paul. He has this tenacity about him as he writes, no matter what his circumstances.
“I have learned to be satisfied with whatever I have. I know what it is to be poor or to have plenty, and I have lived under all kinds of conditions. I know what it means to be full or to be hungry, to have too much or too little. Christ gives me the strength to face anything.”
Let’s face it, this guy gave up a lucrative career when he became a follower of Jesus. He was on the rise, climbing the ladder, as it were, in the religious world as a Pharisee. But then Jesus stepped into his life and everything he thought he knew, he had to relearn. He had to figure things out through the life of Jesus in him. Everything he once stood on became sinking sand and washed away.
Here’s a guy who had it all, in a worldly kind of way, then gave it all up to follow Jesus. And let’s face it, it cost him. He was beaten, he was whipped, he was mistreated and abused by many, and he spent much of his later years in prison, though he did nothing wrong to be thrown in prison. But here’s what he said…
It would be so interesting to sit down and have a one-on-one conversation with this guy. To ask him how he did it.
- How did he keep so positive about life?
- How did he find enjoyment in hardships?
- How did he celebrate each day when the skies were so dark?
I’m sure he’d answer now like he answered then: “Christ gives me the strength to face anything.”
Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: I don’t know what you’re facing today… what hardship you’re dealing with… what dreaded decision you have to make… but can I tell you, you’re not facing it alone. You never face it alone. Jesus is right there with you. He will provide everything you need to get through. His strength will be your strength. His joy – your joy. His peace – your peace. Trust Him.
Walk with me today. Be my strength today. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.
Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen
Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.