Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 16:1-14
“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Cor. 16:13,14 NASB)
Taking a stand for Christ can have serious repercussions. For the first century saints it meant martyrdom in the arena by devouring lions, or being burned at the stake, or tortured on a rack. In our post-modern society taking a stand can lead to loss of employment, rejection by our families or community, and even imprisonment.
A search of the Scripture reveals that many Old and New Testament people suffered because of their faith. Joseph was falsely accused of rape and thrown into prison. Because of jealousy, King Saul sought David’s life. John the Baptist told the truth and was beheaded. Paul was beaten with forty lashes save one and stoned. Stephen preached the truth about the resurrection of Christ and was stoned to death. Jesus was crucified on a Roman cross because of his claims as the Son of God.
It is never easy to maintain your faith when adversity strikes. Loss of job, foreclosure of your home, severed relationships, departure of loved ones; rejection by friends and family all take their toll. It takes faith and a never give up attitude to stay the course.
I have two sons who have suffered physically, emotionally, and financially through loss of employment and broken family relationships. The younger of my two sons lost two wives due to illness within two years. It was a devastating blow that threw him into the pit of despair. He spent seven years in bitterness before joining a “Celebrate Recovery” group and finding his way back to God. I am proud to say that my sons never completely gave up on God, and today are busy serving their Savior, Jesus Christ.
I watched my father as we lived through the “Great Depression” years, and he never gave in to feelings of self-pity. Most of the manufacturing in our small Pennsylvania town went “belly-up,” but that didn’t deter my dad from maintaining our home and keeping food on the table. As a young boy I hunted for soda and milk bottles to turn in for the two cents deposit. Those were difficult years, but my dad never gave up. I often hear my sons say, “a Delaney never quits or gives up.”
Are you going through some tough times? I encourage you to hold fast to your faith and make the determination that no matter what happens you will never give up. Even in the darkest of night there is always a light at the end of the tunnel for those who trust in Jesus.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me be an encourager to those who are teetering on the brink of despair.