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I felt invigorated when I read Romans 1:11, and it made me wish I had a whole posse of “Pauls.”  A posse who imparts spiritual gifts onto me to make me strong, and a posse whom I can quickly flip the script and do the same for them – encourage them through our mutual faith.

Why are struggles unbearable?  The word “struggle” seems so fitting, doesn’t it?  Just as most words in the English language.  Quick sidebar – do you ever think of a word and wonder where it got its name? And what other words were contemplated before ultimately selecting ‘that’ one?  And as silly as you think a words is, it’s nearly impossible to think of a better one – a unique, non-existent word – to serve in its place?  To the quick witted, synonyms don’t count!

So here I am, reflecting on all my struggles, ensuring I am not narrowly focused on just the immediate one staring me right in the face.  And it’s in that moment of reflection that I am reminded of God’s grace and His presence in every preceding crisis.  It’s those tangible outcomes that calm my racing mind and give me the power to look Satan dead in the eye and say, “check mate.”  Because although he thought he got me right where he wanted me – scared, lonely, sad, confused, desperate – my knowledge of God and His many blessings in my life remind me that life doesn’t end at this struggle, just like it didn’t end at the one before it. 

We will never elude hardship, and frankly, we shouldn’t want to.  Hardships allow us to clean up our side of the road – our shortcomings and failures – and cause us to soul search, goal establish, and faith reflect.

These pits and valleys make us realize that God created us for a distinct reason.  To stand out.  To fulfill a purpose.  Not to sulk in the corner thinking woe is me.  We get one life, and it’s time to dust off our knees and tend to our bruises and get.back.on.the.court.

Get invigorated.

Get grateful.

And find your Paul.  Or, better yet – spend just one day filling Paul’s shoes, imparting a spiritual gift to make someone else strong.  You may very well find that while you’re lifting someone else up, you’re actually lifting yourself up at the very same time. 

And that, my friends, is God working through you and for you, at the very same time.