Faith column: The blessings of challenges

Victoria Van Couvering/For Craig Press

I like winter. I feel guilty that I like winter, because I don’t work outside in the winter. I don’t have to shovel much snow, and I can be a little selective about when I go out in the cold. Winters here can be very challenging and very long.

The holidays also bring some challenges — things we worry about, get upset about, stress over. I used to believe if something went wrong, it was because I hadn’t “worried it through” — worried enough until I found the solution. I didn’t think I worried anymore, I just had faith questions, such as, “How are you going to fix this, God? When? Why did this happen? What’s going to happen? What if …?” Much to my chagrin, I recently realized that’s still worrying.

So, I’ve been meditating on some Bible verses that help me remember the truth of who God is. I share them in the hope, and with a prayer, that they will help you, too. God didn’t create us to be worriers. From His perspective, we are His children. He wants us to know Him, know His love and rest in that love by trusting Him.

I Peter 5:7 (NET): Cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NET): Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (“With thanksgiving” is there, because thanking Him implies that I believe He is taking care of things; it’s a position of faith and trust that follows asking.)

Ephesians 3:16-18 (NET): I pray that according to the wealth of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner person, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love, you may be able to … know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

That last verse has an important key to faith and trust: “be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner person.” I don’t know how that happens, but I know it does, and it’s the hidden blessing in challenges. Andrae Crouch wrote a song about trials and challenges called “Through It All.” The last lines of the song are, “For if I’d never had a problem, I wouldn’t know that He could solve them, I’d never know what faith in God could do.”

If you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are also missing the power of His Spirit in your inner person and the peace that comes from knowing — in your “inner person” — that God really does love you. Give yourself a present this Christmas — attend one of the many services at our churches and find out what faith in God can do.

Victoria Van Couvering is executive director of the Yampa Valley Pregnancy & Family Center.

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