The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
It Ain’t Easy

Back in the days when the only seagoing crafts were sailboats, shipbuilders would often prepare the masts for their ships by going to the forest. They would find an appropriate tree, then clear out all the surrounding trees leaving that one to stand alone. It would be exposed to the wind and storms.

As the tree continued to mature, it gained strength, the kind of strength it would need to be able to stand against the storms at sea while holding a large sail.

But that tree would never gain that strength if it was just left among the other trees. It developed strength because of the storms.

In James 1 we learn that our troubles and trials build up our perseverance into maturity. In Romans 5, Paul tells us that these tests of our faith ultimately build proven character.

One of my favorite stories from the Bible is the one where God tested Abraham’s faith by calling on him to take his son, Isaac, the one promised by God to result in a great nation, and sacrifice him to God. We know that Abraham obeyed God’s command and was fully committed to offering Isaac to God when the Lord stepped in and gave them a ram as a replacement sacrifice. Even though Abraham could not understand God’s command, he passed the ultimate test of his obedience making him a much stronger servant of God. A long-distance runner becomes a great marathon runner through training that takes a gradual increase in distance accomplished until the struggle builds up the endurance necessary to compete.

It is in the storms of life that God builds our perseverance and proven character to become the mighty servants he desires. God never promised us that it would be easy. He never said there would be no storms. He never promised us roses without thorns. He actually promised that life would be hard. But, he did promise to be with us in through the storms and struggles and would build us into strong, mature and capable servants.

If you are strong in your faith, it’s not because it was easy. It is because it has been hard. So, don’t give up or surrender when you encounter storms. Turn to Jesus to take you through it. Remember, as someone said, “If he takes you to it, he’ll take you through it.”

This Sunday we will continue our series of messages from our FCC Summer Cruise with a message titled, “Sailing through the Storms” based on Luke 8:22-25, Matthew 8:23-27 & Mark 4:35-41. I hope you will join us in this special journey with our captain, Jesus.

Sharing the struggle,

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