We all face certain hardships in our life journey.

Some people seem to have everything under control, yet in reality we all experience adverse life events. Some hide their difficulties and don’t let others into their world, while others paint a rosy picture of their existence and neatly cover all the blemishes.

We simply have no idea what future events we might face in life. My experience as a member in the Family of God has been eye-opening, with most being quite open in sharing their life experiences. Embracing life’s little challenges and sharing with those who really care about you is the way I choose to live my life!

Embracing whatever life throws at us seems wise in preparing for the uncertainties that lie around the bend. I prefer to consider life as a roaring river that continues flowing over whatever confronts our path.

Life can seem momentous, if we focus on negative circumstances rather than on what is truly possible. Through the many years I’ve trusted God’s providence, I’ve come to realize that no task is too great for God to handle.

Then again, I’ve also come to understand that God has a purpose for every circumstance I must face in life.

What do you choose to embrace in life — the problems and challenges or the possibilities once the challenges have been faced head on?

Listen to these prudent words of Jesus’ half-brother as he testifies to those who left Judaism to follow The Way. In James 1:2-4 we’re reminded, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Spiritual maturity does not come to the believer overnight. We need to remain in God’s Word and be tested to strengthen our faith in God Almighty.

James continues in the next verse: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” There’s no gift more valuable to the believer than experiencing the wisdom of God!

Please consider the struggles followers of Christ experienced during the first century under the rule of Emperor Nero. Many were persecuted and tortured for their beliefs and not submitting to the Roman oligarchy.

What we are going through these days in America is minimal to their sufferings. Even so, we can learn through the stories passed down through Scripture. The Book of Hebrews can be a great resource in guiding us on the right path.

One of my favorite chapters in Hebrews is the 11th chapter, known as the Faith Chapter, in which we can taste the faith of those who remained devoted to God’s promise of a future Deliverer as well as those who actually witnessed Christ in person.

So many have sacrificed all for the Hope that lives in the resurrection of Christ Jesus. We may never have to go through the persecution so many have experienced, but we need to be prepared for the challenges that surely lie ahead.

Let me end with a message of eternal hope. Jesus wants all to come to Him. It’s not too late and it’s quite simple since He’s already done all the work on that cross on Calvary.

Just admit your sinful nature, ask Him to forgive you of all your sins (past, present and future), and accept His precious gift of salvation.

Won’t you embrace Jesus and join us in the peace only He can provide?

Passages to Ponder

» Psalm 1:1-3

» Romans 8:16-17

» 2 Timothy 1:12-14

» Hebrews 12:1-2

» 1 Peter 2:9

— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. He can be contacted at jim@fourthquarterstrategies.com for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. He can be contacted at jim@fourthquarterstrategies.com for more information. The opinions expressed are his own.