The REAL Reason Why God Allows You to Be Tested | alyssajhoward.com

The REAL Reason Why God Allows You to Be Tested

I recently read the story of Abraham to my daughters. You know, the one where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son on an altar only to stop him in the process (much to Isaac’s relief!) I’ve heard this story so many times throughout my lifetime. But as an adult, and especially as a mom, I understand it much differently. Why would God ask such a thing? How could Abraham even fathom doing as God had asked? Continue Reading

3 Ways We Have Been Equipped By God to Patiently Endure Life’s Struggles

Toddlers aren’t exactly the most patient human beings. Some are probably more patient than others, but overall patience isn’t typically a trait used to describe an average 3-year-old. My daughter has been in the habit lately of asking demanding repeatedly her request until she gets what she wants.

She will ask for some water – she will watch me as I grab a cup out of the cupboard and fill it with water – the whole time asking over and over again for some water. It’s as if she’s worried I will somehow forget what I’m doing in the middle of getting it for her and she won’t get her water. (Please tell me I’m not the only mother with a toddler like this!)

 

Most of us don’t enjoy being patient. Quite honestly, it’s no fun having to wait for things. As adults we may not outwardly whine as much as a 3-year-old trying to get her way, but we often feel it on the inside. We know what we want, and we want it now.

 

3 Ways We Have Been Equipped By God to Patiently Endure Life's Struggles | alyssajhoward.com

 

Merriam-Webster has some interesting definitions for the word patient:

  • bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint
  • manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain
  • not hasty or impetuous
  • steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity
  • able or willing to bear

 

While reading these definitions, certain phrases stick out to me. True patience is calm. It doesn’t complain. It isn’t controlled by our emotions. And it is not only able, but willing to endure in all circumstances. Have I mentioned that patience is hard?

 

In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind.2 Corinthians 6:4 (NLT)

This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus.Revelation 14:12 (NLT)

 

God calls His people to patiently endure trials, temptations, and hardships of every kind.

 


Why?
Because He wants the best for us. He desires that we grow in character and learn to lean on Him. He desires to be with us in eternity.
Asking us to patiently endure life’s trials may seem like an impossible task. It’s definitely something I struggle with on a daily basis. But God doesn’t leave us empty handed.

 

  • God has given us each other. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. As we live out our faith, we can rely on one another for strength, guidance, and prayer.

 

Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer.2 Corinthians 1:6 (NLT)

 

  • God has given us His Word. The Bible reveals God’s ultimate plan for salvation and redemption. As we patiently endure, it gives us hope and encouragement that the world simply cannot offer.

 

…And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.Romans 15:4 (NLT)

 

  • We have the Holy Spirit. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He made a promise to send a “helper.” As believers, we have God’s Holy Spirit living inside of us. He convicts us, equips us, encourages us, guides us, and gives us the strength we need to patiently endure the trials of this world.

 

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

 

As a Christian, it’s hard not to behave like my toddlers. I struggle with patience. I whine and complain to God when things aren’t going as planned, but He is teaching me how to wait on Him. He is teaching me to trust that He is moving in my life, even when I want to remind Him of my needs repeatedly the way my 3-year-old does.

 

Even when I’m being impatient with Him, God is always faithful to be patient with me.

 

3 Ways We Have Been Equipped By God to Patiently Endure Life's Struggles | alyssajhoward.com

 

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Victory at the Finish Line: Building Endurance in Our Faith

One of my favorite things about running is that the results are tangible. Growth can easily be measured by time and distance. Just five months ago, I competed in my first half marathon. This weekend, I will be racing in my second. I can’t begin to tell you how different it is training for this race versus my last one.

In my first half marathon, my goal was simply to finish. When beginning my training, 13.1 miles seemed like an incredible distance…one that seemed nearly impossible. I achieved my goal, but not without my fair share of physical and mental exhaustion. It was hard. Not to say that training for my second half marathon has been easy, but it has certainly proven to be less exhausting. 13.1 miles doesn’t seem quite as daunting this time around. Continue Reading

Pushing Through the Pain Towards Your Victory in Jesus

When I find myself exhausted during a long run, it’s easy for me to concentrate on how tired and weak I feel. If I stayed in that mindset, however, I would probably find myself defeated. I have to change my thoughts in order to find the strength to keep going. I need to remind myself to breathe and to persevere. I tell myself that pushing through the pain will be worth it.

It is during these difficult moments that I develop the most strength as a runner, and the same is true in life. Learning to endure during a difficult run is very similar to enduring through life’s struggles. If life was never difficult, we wouldn’t have the opportunity for growth.

We usually learn more through our struggles than we do in the good times.

Continue Reading

Training for the Hills: When Life Feels Like an Uphill Battle

As a runner, it is important to never give up on the hills. Stay steady, maintain your form, and you will reach the top. The same is true in life.

Hill training can be very intimidating for the novice runner. Because I spend most of my time running indoors on a treadmill, I sometimes forget about hill training altogether. Training is essential, however, when it comes to tackling hills. Whether going uphill or downhill, both present a new set of challenges. And these challenges help us to grow as athletes – both mentally and physically. Continue Reading

Why Embracing the Storms in Your Life is Essential for Growth | alyssajhoward.com

Why Embracing the Storms in Your Life is Essential for Growth

It was the first weekend in June, and my mother and I decided to run a 5k race. Neither of us was well prepared, but we knew we could probably pull off the short distance. We showed up to the race bright and early only to see a handful of people waiting there to run. What we had failed to notice that morning was the fact that the weather reports were calling for a torrential downpour right around the time the race would begin. Sure enough, they were right (which almost never happens – right?!) We barely got to the starting line when the heavens opened up unleashing a crazy amount of rain. Continue Reading