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We read in the Bible about the men of Ephraim who turned back on the day of battle even though they were armed with bows (Psalms 78:9). This is akin to giving up when things get tough even though we are well equipped to overcome. A great irony, considering that these are descendants of Ephraim, a name that means “God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction” (Genesis 41:52). It is quite easy to give up when things get tough. But like the saying goes, when the going gets tough, the tough must get going. As people of God who trust in His power and grace, we should keep on keeping on no matter what is thrown at us. Proverbs 24:10 tells us if we faint in the day of adversity our strength is small.
I know it is quite difficult to keep going when we face tough issues. In fact, there are some problems that come up in a man’s life that is so debilitating one cannot even think of moving on. When we look at the Bible, we find many inspiring stories of people who overcome their difficulties. Many of them not only overcome their difficulties, but also managed to bear fruit in the process. These kinds of stories are not limited to the Bible. In our world now there are folks whose difficulties are not in doubt to all who know them, but even in their adversities they are bearing fruits.
One great example of a man who continues to deal with his adversities but continues to live in God’s purpose for him was a man whose story I came across several years ago. His name is Nick Vujijic, a man who was born without arms and legs. At present, he is the President of an international non-profit organization. He is also an author and the owner of his own motivational speaking company. Nick takes the gospel of Jesus Christ all over the world and has reached over 733 million people. His story is a humbling one for those of us who have all our limbs complete. Each time I read some news about Nick, it is difficult not to reflect over my own life and the many times I have had to grumble over some simple things that were not going my way. His life is an inspiration and a lesson on how to keep moving without regard to whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.
Whenever we dwell too much on our circumstances, its effect is to hold us back. It becomes too easy for us to find excuses why we cannot function where God wants us. Worrying, as the Bible calls it, leads us into discouragement and discouragement has the tendency to disable us. Even when we are in the lowest of valleys, we must not allow discouragement to fester in our lives. Discouragement is one of the greatest arsenals that the devil uses against us so that we will not walk in God’s purpose for us. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). God has a plan for each and every one of us. What the devil wants to do is kill our hope and make us feel hopeless and helpless. When we have no hope, the future becomes bleak. When we have no hope, our lives come to a screeching halt. But the Lord says His plans are to give us hope and a future. We should not allow the devil to have a foothold in our lives. This is why it is important even in our valley times, we keep making the effort to move on. We must continue making the effort to bear fruit without regard to our difficulties.
My brothers and sisters, we will face different kinds of difficult times in this world. Sometimes our health will not be the best. Other times our jobs or finances will take a hit. Many other times we may struggle with relationship issues. There are other times when we lose people very dear to us to the cold hands of death. These are the issues the devil likes to use to take that proverbial foothold in our lives. In these times we must keep our hope alive. It is hope that connects us to our future. With hope we have the strength to keep going. Hope keeps our spirit going just like oxygen will keep our body going.
In our difficult times, let us stay hopeful; we must not despair and we must not give up. The almighty God is with us and He has plans for each of us. We must continue to make the effort to be fruitful in the knowledge that God Almighty is with us and He will make a way where there is no way. – Pastor Simbo Odunaiya