Faith Triumphs in Trouble.
Romans 5:3 – 5:5
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
(*Tribulations is an old word for “troubles” or “difficulties”.)
This year has hands-down been the worst year of my life. I was forced out of my home just as the first lockdown hit due to my neighbour’s extreme anti-social behaviour. I was then seriously injured in the line of duty and left temporarily-disabled overnight. I spent the next half-a-year as a prisoner in my own body as the damage done was so delicately repairing I could do no exercise at all. My mental health for the first time in my life took a tumble and threatened to destroy my relationship with the woman I so dearly love. I barely kept it together but scraped through, repaired my relationship with my partner and just as my injury had recovered and I was signed off for active duty again I found myself suddenly hit like a tidal wave with a second personal/professional crisis – the likes of which I have never had to face down before. The likes of which I would wish on nobody. This has been against the backdrop of the Coronavirus Pandemic, losing my identical twin brother from my life and still turning up to work every single day despite the pain. It’s been one hell of a year.
At my lowest moment I received the most thoughtful and useful piece of advice I’ve ever had the privilege to hear. A second perspective that pulled me out from the dark. “Those who love you, deserve the best version of you”, read about it here. Since then, things have been looking up- not so much because circumstances around me change, but I had changed the way I chose to respond to them.
As Christmas approaches we will all inevitably take a quiet moment to reflect on all that has happened this year as 2020 finally draws to a close. There has been such strife for so many. Indeed far worse for some than myself. So what’s been the point of it all?
Is there anything good that we can take from this year at all?
I think that’s a very personal question only you know the answer to.
For me, I saw that my relationship with my partner is tight and can survive anything. This blog was born. I found God.
I, the least likely of all the candidates, have now found myself a Christian.
What is Christianity to me? How did I come to be at this point? That’s a long topic for another post, but what I will say is having opened and read through my Holy Bible I found my answer to what the point of all the hardship has been. Well, maybe not the point, but the purpose, the meaning… the silver lining.
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.“
(Romans 5:3 – 5:5)
Tribulation is an old English word that means “trouble” or “strife”. The trials we face make us stronger tomorrow than we were today, by facing our trials head on we build our characters and confidence and therein lies hope. And where we hope, Jesus does not let us down.
Hope = Faith. It’s a promise. A promise I whole heartedly believe. I believe it because this promise has recently been fulfilled in my life.
I have complete faith I will come through my storm stronger than ever before, and I am able to take the day to day in this knowledge and belief.
Don’t worry, I’m not trying to convert you. Religion in one way or another has always been a part of my life so it wasn’t a huge leap for me to reconnect with it in my times of trouble. I still don’t fully understand what this fundamental shift however in my identify means for me. People change over time and that’s okay.
But I guess if I wish to impart anything on you, it’s this. I’ve gone my whole life thinking that I was tough enough to withstand anything, and yet in the end I finally met my match. Found myself faced with an obstacle I’m not ashamed to admit I could not overcome alone.
The support I found has helped me keep it together and give my loved ones the best version of me that they deserve. It gave me the strength I needed to sail through the storm.
Taking something good from something bad happening is always a tricky thing to do. Because sometimes really bad things happen and life just sucks. Bad things can happen to good people and it’s not fair. Some might say looking for the silver lining is “just a coping mechanism”.
To those people I say, to try and cope in the face of a storm is a heroic thing to do. Trying to cope means “I am not giving up, no matter how hard it gets”. If the generations before us hadn’t coped, hadn’t stayed strong, where would we be today?
We honour those who came before us and made the sacrifices they made to get us to where we need to be, by preserving in the face of adversity and carrying on.
So this year, Christmas is going to be a little different for everybody. But don’t give up. I firmly believe that the best is still yet to come.
I hope by sharing how I have faced the hardship in my life this year it can help you think about ways to face and overcome the hardship in yours.
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Stay safe, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!