Ever feel like giving up? Life can be hard sometimes, and for many of us following Jesus isn’t always the joyful, passion-filled experience that we’d love it to be. Life can be tough and sometimes we just have to slog it out, keep going and push on through.
We don’t know your exact situation, but we do know that at some point, all of us will go through some pretty terrible times in life. Our parents might have split up, a relative might pass away, we can fall out with mates, feel pressure to act and look a certain way, fail at exams or in our jobs, or just feel like things never go our way.
But there is always hope. God is always present and sometimes we need to remember his love and reconnect with him to find the courage and confidence to push on.
After Jesus had ascended to heaven, his disciples gathered in a little room. They must have been scared, overwhelmed and afraid. Jesus had given them an impossible task (to tell the world about him). None of them were respected leaders or experienced communicators. They had no idea where to begin. And what’s worse, if they weren’t already wanted by the authorities, its was likely that in speaking about Jesus they would make a bunch of enemies pretty quickly. A daunting, scary situation.
But God can change things. In that small room, God’s spirit came and strengthened, equipped and encouraged that small group of believers. From huddling together with no real plan, they emerged confident to share the message of Jesus to all who would listen. It’s a pretty incredible turnaround. It was the start of the Church, many were saved and the world has been changed by their words and actions.
the same spirit that inspired the early disciples is the one that lives in us if we choose to follow Jesus.
It might not seem like God moves that quickly with us, but the same spirit that inspired the early disciples is the one that lives in us if we choose to follow Jesus. If God did that with them, then he can do that with us. Be encouraged to keep being filled with his presence and power, and like the disciples, see how God will equip you to use you where you are.
That last bit is important – the disciples didn’t run away, or try and escape. They stuck it out, God showed up and things changed. Sometimes it’s right to escape a bad situation, especially a harmful or damaging one. But often God wants us to see how he can use us where we are – even in the midst of the crap.
At Open Doors we know lots of Christians who struggle for their faith in extreme situations. In the midst of war, there are Christians in Iraq and Syria who are staying to offer hope to devastated communities. In the crapness, God is using them to bring aid, friendship, counselling and much more. As with the early disciples, they are depending on God’s spirit, and through them God is changing, and saving, lives.
They keep going. Life isn’t easy. But they know, even in the midst of all the pain, God is present.
We don’t face the same horrific violence, but we do face the same challenge – to keep going when things are tough. God offers us the same spirit to get through. So, what will we choose?
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.