Through The Highs And Lows
The Late Kobe Bryant once said the following: “Everything negative - pressure, challenges - is all an opportunity for me to rise”
Everything that we encounter in life presents an opportunity for growth and an opportunity to grow closer to God. That’s why James mentioned the following:
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
James 1:2-4 MSG
He encourages us to consider our challenges a sheer gift. We have to remember that our faith can be developed by difficulty. Since my last blog, I’ve experienced seasons that consisted of both highs and lows.
August 19, 2020 - Tested positive for COVID
September 17, 2020 - Celebrated 35th Birthday, 4 year brand anniversary and started a new relationship
November 10, 2020 - Lost Job
December 2020 - My Second Christmas Initiative supported eight families during the Holiday Season
As I entered 2021, I had a lot of hope and high expectations but the beginning of the year involved enduring more hardships.
Jan 14, 2020 - Car broke down (Transmission)
Feb 21, 2020 - My girlfriend initiated a break from our relationship
As a result of the issues with my car, relationship and an unstable source of income, I lost 17 pounds. Between dealing with stress, lacking an appetite at times and the inability to maintain my normal workout routine, I watched my weight go from 195 pounds to 178 pounds. This was one of the lowest points in my life, and the only time in my life that I considered giving up on everything. Although my faith was being tested, my faith reminded me that I was on the verge of a turnaround. The enemy fights the hardest when you are getting closer to what God has prepared for you.
March 1, 2021 - Started a new position as a College Advisor
April 2021 - Ended break within my relationship
June 2021 - Got accepted into Liberty University (Master of Divinity)
After dealing with multiple car malfunctions, and catching countless Ubers and Lyfts to and from work, I purchased a new car on July 10, 2021. After watching God turn things around, I had to endure more trials in the month of August.
August 13, 2021 - Lost Job as a College Advisor
August 28, 2021 - Relationship ended
I would’ve never thought that correcting a corrupted view of celibacy would end my relationship. The one who promised to stick beside me left when I needed her the most. Through the highs and lows, you’ll lose people but you’ll always have God. I realized that having complete confidence in God and his plan for your life will help you withstand anything! Even when things seem out of control, God still has complete control of everything. Psalms 139:16 reminds us of the following:
“In your book you wrote about all the days planned for me before any of them had happened.”
This reminds us that God has already wrote the figurative book for your life, and he already knows what will happen in every chapter. Since the enemy can’t change God’s plan for your life, he’ll take away certain resources in an attempt to change your confidence in God. This is honestly the season that I was in, and I questioned why God allowed some of the things that I coveted and needed to be taken away from me?
God revealed to me that he was the ONLY thing that I truly needed, and that a “loss” was only making more room for what he wanted to do. God never removes something from our lives without the intent to replace it with something better. Losing my job opened the door to full time entrepreneurship. Losing my car due to multiple malfunctions provided the opportunity to purchase a newer one.
There are so many things that God wants to do in our lives, but there’s not enough room for him to do it! There are so many things that God wants to remove in our lives, but we don’t fully trust what he’s going to replace it with. God’s next move will always be one of his best moves! We have to learn to trust the author of our story. As much as we want to change the narrative, we have to learn to embrace the narrative that he perfected for us! Remember what Matthew 5:45 says:
“…he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.”
This means that each of us will experience a season of sunshine, and none of us are exempt from a storm. Although this seems like a mixture of good and bad news, remember that God will help you grow through every season of your life and gain glory from everything that you encounter!
There’s A Purpose For A Low Season Each season of our lives is attached to a lesson. Whether good or bad, we can learn something from every season that we encounter. Proverbs 16:4 reminds us that God has a plan for everything, and that he eventually works everything together to accomplish his purpose for our lives.
There are things that we ask God for and the difficulties that we face develop what we are asking for. This reminds me of Moses refusing to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, and choosing to suffer with the people of God. The Message Translation of Hebrews 11:24-26 mentions the following about Moses:
“By faith, Moses, when grown, refused the privileges of the Egyptian royal house. He chose a hard life with God’s people rather than an opportunistic soft life of sin with the oppressors. He valued suffering in the Messiah’s camp far greater than Egyptian wealth because he was looking ahead, anticipating the payoff. By an act of faith, he turned his heel on Egypt, indifferent to the king’s blind rage. He had his eye on the One no eye can see, and kept right on going.”
Moses ultimately realized that he would gain more by going through difficulty than an unprincipled and soft life of sin. Most people would’ve done the opposite, and chose the easier path. We have to remember that a painless path isn’t always the best path or the one that leads to what God has perfected for us. That’s one of the reasons that Moses chose a hard life over an easy one.
“He valued suffering in the Messiah’s camp far greater than Egyptian wealth because he was looking ahead, anticipating the payoff.”
He anticipated the payoff and reward connected to the path that involved suffering with God’s people. You can put a numerical price on wealth, but you can’t put a price on some of the lessons learned through suffering. We often ask for strength and God will give us difficulties to develop that strength. When we pray for patience, God will place us in a season or situation that requires patience. When we pray for wisdom, God may give you a problem to solve. Experience will always be one of the best teachers! One definition of the word experience is a skill or knowledge that you gain by doing something.