Courage to Face Life’s Trials – Charles Stanley Daily Devotion (July-28-2020). God's presence is our greatest source of courage in times of trouble.
2 Timothy 4:6-18 ( 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. 9 Make every effort to come to me soon; 10 for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. 12 But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 When you come bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15 Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching. 16 At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion's mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen)
Scripture details the courageous way Paul handled trials. He was opposed by religious leaders, manhandled by magistrates, and mobbed by crowds. Yet through it all, he stood firm. How did he do this?
Let’s look at Paul’s own testimony. He said he came to the Corinthians in weakness, and he spoke with fear and trembling (1 Corinthians 2:3 "I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling,"). He claimed that he had been pushed beyond his ability to endure (2 Corinthians 1:8 "For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life;"). In fact, once his fear was so strong that an angel exhorted him not to be afraid (Acts 27:24 "saying, `Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you"). He was human, just as we are.
What did Paul know that would also help us? Wherever the apostle was, God was personally present. He trusted in the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit, and he also took heart from the Lord’s reassurance of His nearness (Acts 18:9 "And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent;"). Although it appeared that Paul stood alone before his accusers, he recognized he was actually in the Lord’s company. With almighty God standing beside him, he didn’t have to be afraid.
Because we belong to Jesus Christ, we can know that God is always with us. We, too, have the Savior’s unending pledge of nearness and the Holy Spirit as our permanent companion. As we embrace these truths, we will discover the courage to face life’s trials. I feel braver already. What about you?