First Responder

G.I. Joe didn’t have a large presence in my upbringing, but he did teach me that “knowing is half the battle.”  What a wise little army guy.

There’s no way today that I can predict how I’m going to respond to the trials and challenges that await me in the coming years.  Statistics will tell me that I cannot escape the following at some point in my life:

-I will feel betrayed.
-I will suffer loss.
-Someone I know will lose their job, car, or house.
-Someone I know will be diagnosed with a disease.
-I’m going to lose friends and family members.

I don’t like typing those sentences, but they are a part of this life.  There’s no way around it, but there’s certainly a way through it.

So if I can’t predict my response, what can I do to prepare for those events?  What can I know now if knowing is half of the battle?

1.  Recognize that trials are a part of this life.

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” James 1: 6-7, NLT

2.  Actively begin thanking God for the struggles and challenges of the everyday.  Cultivating an attitude of thankfulness will go a long way when the big waves threaten to overtake us.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4, NLT

3.  Ask God for wisdom NOW.  God invites us to approach Him and to share our needs with Him.  I know that they days and years coming are going to require more than just the wisdom I currently possess.  Ask that He would begin preparing your heart and mind for whatever road lies ahead.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.  But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1: 5-6, NLT

4.  Hide God’s Word in your heart.  I know I mention this ALL THE TIME, but it’s because I know I can’t survive without it.  God’s Word is our comfort, weapon, water, bread, and what can give us the courage to face even the darkest moments.  Memorize it, read it, sing it, meditate on it, write it, record it, eat it… just know it.

“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105, NLT

5.  Remember that He is with you every step of the way.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39, NLT

The valleys of heartache are coming.  Have you made your choice?  Will you worship the King even on the darkest of days?

“Have you predetermined your loyalty to Christ?

In other words, Have you already answered the question in your own heart and mind about whether anything could make you turn away from Him?

Could any circumstance (such as an unhealed disease, unanswered prayer, loss of a loved one, an incarceration in a country where Christianity is illegal, or other situations) make you renounce your faith in Christ?” – Beth Moore, Daniel

I believe your answer to this question is important.  Spend some time praying, seeking, and asking that you would rest secure in Him… even in the midst of the fire.