I am a Christ follower. But what does that mean? For me it is simply; Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior who I have an intimate relationship with and I know that Christ is all I need. The question is, how does one come to truly know Christ and have an intimate relationship with Him? For me this question is tied to why there is evil in the world, why terrible things happen, why do we have tribulation in our lives. In order for me to know that Christ was all I needed, I first had to come to a place where Christ was all I had.
For some this is called rock bottom, for some it’s when they have nowhere left to turn in a crisis, for others it is a traumatic event or situation thrust upon them. Whatever the cause or situation most of us reach a moment in our lives when there seems that nothing can help, we can’t find anything or anyone to fill the emptiness we feel, or there is no relief or end in sight to the pain we are experiencing. I believe God does not remove us from these situations because they are opportunities for us to look to God and call on Him and ask Him to save us. But some of us miss these opportunities because we are self-reliant; we tell ourselves that we can make it through these tough times on our own. And the world would agree with you.
There is a Chinese maxim: “Eating Bitterness”, known as Chi Ku. It is a Chinese phrase for enduring hardship. You may have heard some english equivalents “Grin and Bear It.”, “Keep on Truckin”, “Hang In There”, “Suck It Up”, all to mean to endure something unpleasant in good humor. Or to continue despite the difficulties, stay focused and don’t complain and have a good attitude.
Some quotes to the same effect are:
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” ~Winston Churchill.
“We acquire the strength we have overcome.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson.
“I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.” ~Jewish Proverb.
“There is no success without hardship.” ~Sophocles.
Most sayings will echo some truth like: “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on.” ~Franklin D. Roosevelt
Personally I like this quote very much, but as a Christ follower I would say: “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in your faith and hold on because it is not your strength that allows you to hang on but the strength you receive from your Father in heaven, this is His promise to you and His promises cannot be broken!”
Isaiah 41:10 says: fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Philippians 4:13 says: I can be content in any and every situation through the Anointed One who is my power and strength.
Sooner or later, for most of us our strength fails us, we are unable to hold on by ourselves and this is the opportunity to turn to God and ask Him to save us because we finally learn that we can’t do it on our own, and we were never meant to.
When we are able to stop being prideful and selfish, we can surrender to God, we can start having a relationship with Christ, but this is just the first step, an intimate relationship is a daily process of giving and receiving, of being pruned into the image of Christ Himself.
John 15:2 says: He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
The good things in life are not, health and happiness but Holiness.
Not the riches of this world, but relationship with God.
Not our plans but His Presence.
And He withholds no good thing from us because good things aren’t ever things.