After sinning yet again this weekend—will my old self ever cease to rise up against me?—and repenting (asking forgiveness and turning from my sin), I remembered a couple of verses I’d recently read in Luke. They’d leapt out at me when I read them this go around, enough for me to underline them. Now I’m glad I did. It made for an easy find when I needed the comfort the words offered.
Luke 22:31-32 (NIV)
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
Jesus was speaking here, and He knew that Simon Peter would soon deny Him three times. But He also knew that Simon would turn back to his faith. Not only would he turn back, but he would then be strong enough himself to strengthen the other apostles and Christians whose own faith would be on shaky ground.
As I read these words from ancient days, I found the comfort I sought, the comfort God had laid out for Simon . . . and for me.
But that wasn’t all I found.
In my moment of weakness, God showered me with blessings from two small verses in His vast Book. The following is an excerpt from my journal, things God showed me in those verses:
“Jesus prays for us, that our faith will not fail. Jesus, please help me follow Your example and pray that my faith will not fail. I am so weak. Please be my spiritual strength.
“The devil asks permission to hurt us, to tempt us. I like how God is in control of even our temptations. He restricts Satan’s attempts, too, like when He said not to take Job’s life. God is watching over us even (and especially) in our worst moments.
“When we make it through the trials and storms (sometimes victorious, sometimes battered and bruised), we’re stronger than we were before. That new strength comes from God refining us in the fire, removing more of our imperfections, and bringing out the best qualities in us—those that reflect His love for us.
“When we are strengthened, we then may strengthen our fellow Christians, our neighbors, the people we love. How? Because we’ve been where they’re at. We’ve struggled. We’ve fought the battle and come out stronger. Because of our experience (and our Heavenly Father), we have the tools needed to encourage and uplift and aid someone else facing trials, storms in their lives.
“Through adversity, I see blessing. I see strength.”
When adversity (those trials and storms that are sure to come in life) attacks you, what do you see? Do you see heartache and pain? Strength and blessings? A mixture?
How has God used adversity in your life to teach you lessons (comfort, humility, patience, etc.)? How have you used what you learned to help strengthen someone else?