How to Overcome and Gain Victory in Suffering

victory, suffering, character, Isaiah 54:17I’ve been watching a Netflix show recently about a group of young adults who, one and all, have had to overcome great obstacles and, in many cases, personal tragedy in order to reach their goals and be successful.  What’s interesting to me is that even though the series has a positive tone, it hasn’t pulled any punches or tried to gloss over the suffering that each of these characters has experienced nor has it failed to show the consequences of their decisions.  A few have thrived and really used the difficulties that they have faced to become stronger and wiser while others have tried to cope by running away or turning to substance abuse.  One, in particular, decided that his greatest problem was caused by some of the people close to him and that led him to act in a way that had truly tragic circumstances for several of them.

You could say then, that even though they were completely different people with varied backgrounds and abilities, what really defined them in the end was how they overcame adversity and responded to suffering.  And even though this was based on fictional characters and a fictional story, I am convinced that this is a lesson that we need to learn well and take to heart.  Our lives and our legacy will be, in large part, defined by how well we overcome adversity and the character that we show while experiencing suffering.

One of the main characters in the show was a young lady who struggled and made it through law school but as a result of her singular focus on passing the bar exam she developed very bad eating and sleeping habits that led to weight gain and poor overall health with some serious side effects.  She had to learn how to be a healthy person and treat her body with the same attention and care that she gave to her learning while still taking care of her responsibilities at her job and in her home.  She likes to say that she isn’t the smartest or most attractive but that once she puts her mind to it, she can do anything and over the course of the series she displays this same plucky attitude over and over again and refuses to ever give up or quit.

This type of positive thinking and inner fortitude is admirable and makes for good television but, in the real world, it often doesn’t work like that.  There are some chains that just can’t be broken, some illnesses that can’t be overcome and some problems that can’t be solved by positive thinking and inner strength.  With all of the things that afflict us, both from without and within, there is only one power and one solution that can overcome the greatest obstacle time and time again.  That power belongs to God and God alone but is available to us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

Many problems, many obstacles and many afflictions and not one of them can stand in the face of the power of God Almighty.  At the sound of His name every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord and even Death itself must give way.  In Him there is hope, there is strength, there is love and there is forgiveness.  Whatever we have faced in the past, are facing today or will face tomorrow He can redeem it and give us the ultimate victory.  This is God’s promise to those who would give Him their hearts and lives and this is the best response to the obstacles we face and the suffering we must endure.

Whatever it is, cry out to God and give it to Him.  Admit your inability to solve it on your own and confess your trust in Him.  Then, prepare to be amazed with God and His work in your life!

No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their righteousness is from Me,”
Says the Lord.  Isaiah 54:17 (NKJV)

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