May I recommend the movie, “Eddie the Eagle” to you, if you have not already seen it. It’s a fun family film that packs a powerful punch. Very briefly, it tells the story of a boy who wants to achieve something great in his life but who is continually knocked down for this. His own father discourages him, road blocks are put in his way and people make fun of him. But nothing can discourage him from pursuing his dream. You can watch a review here:
The Apostle Paul experienced plenty of rebuke, road blocks and hostility for pursuing his dream of sharing the Gospel. There were times when he was brought close to death. He learned through all this that the way he responded to his troubles could either ‘make him’ or ‘break him’.
Folding under the weight of discouragement gave his troubles the power to break him. Sticking to his guns, on the other hand, doggedly determined to overcome his troubles, would make him stronger and more resilient. He actually began to welcome adversity as an opportunity for growth. He writes,
We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance (produces) character; and character (produces) hope. And hope does not disappoint us. Romans 5:3-4
The ‘hope’ Paul talks about is confident trust that God walks with us always. He has our best interests at heart. We do not face our troubles alone. God has His way of turning our troubles into blessings.
It strikes me that developing a mindset that is able to welcome our troubles as an opportunity for growth – instead of fearing them - is a great way to reduce the negative impact of trouble-related stress.
Pastor Michael Alfson