By Rev Alan Millar
Sports fans cannot fail to have noticed the determination athletes have to help them win, should it be boxing, tennis, rugby, soccer or whatever.
Natural skill is not enough for athletes to win. To be a champion each athlete must hone his or her natural abilities so that they are the best in their field. That is why they become champions. For Christians, it is prayer and faith in God that wins us the prize.
But even champions get knocked down, as did Carl Frampton in his latest fight. Twice he went down in the first round, but determination to win got Frampton up on his feet to box on and win. The same is true of great tennis players who can be two sets down, but with great determination come back to win the next three sets. True champions never give up. Christians are champions through Jesus Christ.
Christians experience difficult times when life seems to be so disordered, chaotic, emotionally or physically draining and painful, feeling times of despair to the point of feeling like giving up the fight, believing that there is nothing else to give. But for Christians, we who know the Lord as our Saviour, such thinking denies the truth that the fight does not belong to us, but to God - He Who gives us strength when we are at our lowest ebb. Paul wrote: “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10). He also wrote: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” 2 Cor. 4:7
The treasure spoken of is the grace and power of God who is our help and strength, a very present help in trouble. Put your trust in the Lord, not in man. God may not take all your troubles away, but He will help you get through the darkest valley, the hardest of times, the most painful of situations. His promise to those who love Him is that He will never leave you nor forsake you. Jesus promised to help us with these words: “Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Mat. 11:28. Trust in the Lord and give to God the glory.