Don’t Give Up!

As I contemplated the concepts of discipleship, I came across verses such as:

“Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27

“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26

And I concluded that being a disciple is not an easy task… in fact, true discipleship will be a life long struggle to follow Jesus over our own desires, wants, and comforts.

This year started off badly for my family and me. I’m sure that the start of 2013 will go down in our history as one of the most hurtful, challenging, trying months we have ever encountered. Family issues, church issues, and health issues have all taken their toll on what should have been a year of great breakthrough and growth.

However, in all honesty, I think that it’s these moments that really test your faith and tell you exactly who you are. In the midst of storms and tribulations, do we become better or bitter? Do we trust more in Christ or use any excuse to back away from the calling over our lives? Are we willing to take up that cross and follow Christ, even if it means pain and sacrifice?

I’m no hero in the faith. I’m just some guy who decided that in spite of all that has happened, I’ll trust God more. I choose to believe that if God allows us to go through bad times, it’s for a greater purpose—or as Romans 8:28 aptly says:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

It’s too bad that some people lose their faith and stop trusting in God. As this year comes to an end, I’m starting to realize that everything that God has allowed was in fact for our good! I definitely can see God at work…

My marriage has never been stronger. The adversity caused some difficult times in our relationship, but as I write this, I thank God for the wonderful wife that he has given me. Throughout everything, she has been my biggest supporter, cheerleader, and has taken her place at my side as my best friend. The devil wanted to ruin it, but God used adversity to make our marriage the strongest it’s been in 10 years!

Our family has become more united. When bad things happen to our kids—or when our kids are exposed to adversity—it’s so hard to help them. However, this year has taught me that sometimes, just being there for them is the most powerful thing that we can do. As my kids become more aware of their faith, their questions and enthusiasm for God motivates me to keep on doing what we’re doing!

Our future is in God’s hand! As Psalms 30:5 teaches us, “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” All circumstances, whether good or bad, are all temporary. Having God in our lives helps us deal with the bad times and help us to be thankful for the good times. No matter what happens, the fact that everything always works out for us is a testimony of God’s goodness!

Whatever you are going through, DON’T GIVE UP! I know that it’s not going to be easy, but truly the Christian life is the very best life one can live! Don’t let the storms in your life stop your praise, your giving, and your ministry! Don’t allow people or circumstances to take the place of worship in your life.

After all, God won’t give up on you so don’t give up on him!