Life Is Meant to Be a Challenge
By Maria Fontaine
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“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”—Jeremiah 29:111
Adversity often has a way of catapulting us into situations and encounters with people that we would never have otherwise had the opportunity to meet. Sometimes the Lord opens doors through seemingly negative situations that would not have opened otherwise. If we stay attuned to the Lord and follow His plan, usually we eventually see the opportunities the Lord brought our way through the challenges.
It pays to approach adversity with a positive mindset, and to confront it with faith and praise. We can thank the Lord for the assurance that He’s going to bring something good out of even the most seemingly negative or difficult circumstances.2 As we manifest our faith by praising Him, He can empower us to take on a positive, full-of-faith attitude and to make Spirit-led and wise decisions on how to respond to difficult situations.
We can rest assured that the Lord has a plan no matter how much of a setback the circumstances may initially seem, or the immediate difficulty or challenges that they may represent. We can look for the opportunities the Lord has in whatever form of adversity or opposition we face, and ask Him to show us how we will benefit from the situation.
Winston Churchill once said, “Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.” He is also the author of this well-known saying: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” We can ask the Lord to help us to master difficulties by looking for the opportunities in any opposition that we face.
Let’s embrace the challenges that difficulties and adversity bring our way! Let’s tell the Lord that we’re prepared for it; in fact, we want Him to bring it on if that’s what He needs to use to bring about opportunities for us to be fruitful for Him and to fulfill His will in our lives.
Let’s focus on the opportunities and the victories the Lord has prepared for us. The Lord said that the path of His children is as a shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day, so we can expect our way to be brilliantly lit with His light no matter what circumstances we face.3
Life is not just about the easy times, the times when things flow, and when you’re able to peacefully go about your business with little to hinder or slow you down. Life is also about the struggle—the challenges that cause you to develop your skills of perseverance, determination, and steadfastness. It’s about facing something seemingly insurmountable and trusting in My power to help you to overcome.
The high points of life are often when you’re at the very crest of a wave, riding it for all it’s worth. It’s daring to climb aboard and ride the wave, rather than staying on the beach to avoid the challenge. You’ll never rise above the challenges of life and learn to fly to new heights if you hunker down in the safety zones and try to find the path of least resistance.
Life for Me is meant to be a challenge. You are in a spiritual warfare that is the most important warfare that will ever be waged, for the most righteous cause, for results that are eternal—the salvation of mankind and the preparation of the earth for My kingdom come.
War is all about opposition—it’s two opposing armies facing each other down, each determined to be the victor and to carry the day. You have an advantage over traditional armies because your victory was prophesied from the beginning of time. Your success is guaranteed and set in heaven, if you fight through adversity, using the spiritual weapons of warfare, determined to carry the day in every battle you face.
A seasoned soldier lives for the battle—that’s his life, his calling. He knows he’s called to war and he’s prepared to do battle. If you can look at opposition and adversity as a challenge and an opportunity to ride the wave and move forward faster and further than ever before, it will help you to not look at it as a negative, a setback, or a hindrance to your plans. Ask Me to turn opposition into an opportunity.
When you ask for bread, I won’t give you a stone. If you ask for opportunities, ask Me to help you to not turn away from them if they come in the form of opposition or difficulties. Thank Me for the opportunity, and ask Me how to take advantage of the lemonade you squeeze out of that lemon. Look for the growth, progress, and forward motion that I want to bring out of every adversity. That’s My goal—that you’ll ride the wave and stand taller than before.
It all has to do with your perspective and attitude. Opposition and adversity are aspects of life that strengthen you, that help you to become the overcomers you are meant to be.
When you take on the mindset of overcoming, rising above, and victory, every challenge can become an opportunity—a stepping stone to new possibilities and greater victories.
So embrace the challenges of the day before they even appear on the horizon. You may not know what the day will bring, but you can know that by looking to Me you have the power to overcome, even if you don’t know what obstacles, trials, or tests it may hold. The weapons of your warfare are mighty through Me and are more than a match for any challenges you may face.4 So embrace the challenges and obstacles that come your way. These are what victories are made of.
The formula for successfully braving the winds of any form of adversity is faith. It is trusting that I am at the helm and that no matter how powerful the waves are that beat against your ship, I will bring you through the storm.
You will have your role to play, too, as one of the shipmates, but your part in it will be small in comparison to Mine. Not only will I be at the helm navigating you through difficult waters, but I can also bring calm to the sea and quiet the storm altogether once it has served its purpose. We’ll be working as a team to weather the storms, with you doing your part and Me doing the rest.
If you feel a bit wobbly and you’re having a hard time finding your sea legs, look over to the helm and remind yourself who’s captaining the ship. Regardless of the circumstances—the size of the waves of adversity crashing against your vessel, or your inadequacy to meet the challenges—My will is that every situation will somehow work together for your good, whether immediately or eventually. My will is for you to learn to successfully ride the waves and allow them to propel you to new opportunities to reach others with My Word and truth, to lands of promise, and to new heights of wisdom and experience.
Enjoy the ride and the feel of the wind blowing through your hair! Enjoy the opportunity to exercise your faith and to stand on My promises. The victory in challenging times is all about faith. It’s not about perfection or being mistake-free; it’s not about your performance. It’s about trusting in Me and having confidence that together we will weather every storm and come out on top. Your best bet is to stake everything you’ve got on Me, and you’ll come out a winner—that’s a 100-percent guarantee!
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”—2 Corinthians 9:85
Originally published February 2009. Adapted and republished November 2013.
Read by Debra Lee.