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Through Trials to Triumph

Jesus:  “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

The Stockdale Paradox is a concept that was popularized by Jim Collins in his book Good to Great.  It was named after James Stockdale, former vice presidential candidate, naval officer and Vietnam prisoner of war.  Stockdale explained this idea as the following: “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose — with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

He shared that his fellow prisoners who refused to deal with the painful realities of their confinement and thought that relief was just around the next corner most often became discouraged and defeated and eventually succumbed to the conditions of the prison.

Those who looked very realistically at their current situation–as grim as it was–and yet never gave up hope of ultimate deliverance, those are the ones who prevailed.

Stockdale said:  “I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”

James Stockdale was mirroring words spoken centuries earlier by the Savior.  Jesus told his followers the way to peace:  Accept that in this world you will have tribulation.  At the same time:  …take heart; I have overcome the world.

We do not need to deny reality to exercise faith!  A great example is Abraham–childless at an old age, yet believing God’s promise that he would be the father of many nations.

He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.     (Romans 4:19-21)

So do not be afraid of the hard facts of COVID-19, but hear them with faith.  Remember the words of Jesus:  In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

The passage from Scripture for this Sunday includes these words, “…casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”  
Timely truth for trying times.  We continue to live streaming again this Sunday.  You may view on Facebook or our webpage anytime after 9:00AM.  Click here 

Thanks to all who are giving sacrificially at this time so the ministry can thrive.  The church building is closed, but the church of Jesus Christ is advancing and prevailing!

Stay well.

God’s grace to you,

Pastor Mike


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