A winner, no matter what

I heard a wonderful story this week of a man who approached cancer treatment declaring he was going to win, no matter what.

Some friends told me that this man, who attended their previous church, told them he was in a win-win situation. If he survived cancer, he won. If he died, he would be with Jesus.

He died.

But his glowing faith led to several people becoming believers in Jesus Christ.

This reminds me that how I deal with trouble can bring glory to God. It doesn’t mean that I brush off trouble with a set smile or try to cover up my real fears and suffering.

But it does mean that I learn to turn them over to God. And that is where I will find peace.

We talked about that this morning with young teenagers in a church group.

Several boys in my group talked about rejection by friends or fears about teachers who did not like them. Such fears can blight the lives of teenagers. I still remember some similar issues that plagued me in those years.

The question we were asking these kids was: “How do you deal with these stresses?”

We searched the scriptures for answers.

We looked at the apostle Paul who details some of the trials he faced – beatings, stonings, shipwrecks, hunger, thirst – in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27. He constantly faced hostile crowds.

Paul did not take these things lightly. In his letters, he appeals to his readers to pray for him that he would continue to share the good news of Jesus Christ boldly. He must have been afraid at times.

Yet the apostle also tells his readers to “always be full of joy in the Lord” (Philippians 4:4).

Joyful in what? In the Lord. We belong to Jesus and no one can take that away from us.

He is present with us in every situation we find ourselves in (Matthew 28:20). He has a plan for us that is for our good (Jeremiah 29:11). He loves us no matter what. He delights over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

There are other things we found as well. But the underlying message was clear: Go to God with your troubles and find your joy in him.

That kind of life shines. And people who see someone like that want what he or she has.

That kind of life can’t help but bring God honour and glory.

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