Life is life isn’t it. There is the good, the bad and the ugly. We have moments of pure joy and also circumstances that threaten to wrench our hearts out. That is life. If you’re breathing you know this.

As Christians I believe that we live our lives as demonstrations of God’s love and grace. In the good, the bad and the ugly. We face battles. And yet in this battle time God is with us and for us and calls us to overcome. He gives us hope and peace, no matter what we face. In these battle times he calls us to keep our eyes on him, to hold to faith in Him, and to overcome.

Isaiah 60:1-4 says “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of Jehovah has risen on you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples; but Jehovah shall rise on you, and His glory shall be seen on you. And the nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawning. Lift up your eyes all around, and see. All of them gather themselves; they come to you.”

“Isaiah challenges me every time I read what he wrote: He said that we are to arise from the depression in which circumstances have kept us – rise to a new life. In face we are supposed to shine! He said that darkness is covering the earth (boy, isn’t that the truth?), but that the glory of our God will be visible in you and me so that people who are hurting can come to us for answers.”

Warrior Chicks by Holly Wagner

2 Corinthians 1:4 says “He comforting us in all our trouble, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in every trouble, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” And this is something I totally subscribe to. God comforts us in our battles and hard times so we in turn can demonstrate God to them, giving hope and comfort and the Gospel.

We can often feel that life’s hard times knock us about and discredit us. We can feel like we are damaged because of the things we face. Disqualified because we are in a hard time.

”Once when my husband visited an antique coin dealer the owner told him that most people make the mistake of cleaning all of their old coins before bringing them to sell. They think that if the coins are clean they will be more valuable. They are wrong. Rather than calling the black stuff on old coins “tarnish” we should call it “being toned”. Toning actually makes them worth MORE.

So, if you’re feeling tarnished, I would like to suggest that we are merely toned – and thus growing in value. The battle you are in is toning you. It can be your ceiling in life or a stepping-stone to your future.

Your choice.”

Warrior Chicks by Holly Wagner

Let me repeat that. In a way we are not responsible for the battles we face. We don’t choose cancer or illness. We often have no choice in a job loss, financial issues, relationship difficulties (though we contribute perhaps…). We are however responsible for how we respond and react. Are we reacting in a “shinning” way – are we holding onto hope with God, do we trust Him that he will be with us??? or do we want to go to the bottom of the garden and eat worms? I’m serious! The battles we face can shape and transform us in positive ways if we allow it to. The life experiences we gain can make us more compassionate, stronger, more faith-filled, more faithful, more wise. Or they can make us grumpy and bitter. Our choice.

In Warrior Chicks Holly Wagner shares the powerful life testimony of Ernest Shackleton – who from 1914 to 1916 survived the wreck of their ship in the crushing Antarctic ice. They were shipwrecked 1,200 miles away from the nearest people – in 1914 – with all the limitations of the technology. No communication. No cell phones. No sat phones. No rescue beacons. No hope of rescue from the outside. If they were to survive it was their choice. Their ship began to be broken up by the crushing ice and they had to trek out – on the ice – in the cold – to be rescued. They survived, most of them, and did it with style. One of the reasons for the success of their self rescue was that Ernest Shackleton was remarkable man who refused to let this battle destroy them… He remembered and celebrated birthdays. They sang. They performed skits.

”Ernest was not blind to the challenge before them – he just knew that if they were going to survive, he had not only to rise, to have joy, but also to give it away. It was more than a feeling. It was a decision.”

Warrior Chicks by Holly Wagner

We are called to be light to those around us. People ARE watching. Lets show them, lets demonstrate how God works and upholds us. People need answers, they have questions. All of us face battles. All of us have circumstances beyond our control. Life happens. We make a choice in how to react. We can feel the pain and grieve and be worried and all those normal responses… but in this we must shine. We don’t paint happy faces on – we must be authentic. God can use pain and shine through that. He DOES use hard times. We can be assured that he is with us. we can be assured he sees us and knows the pressure. We can be confident that he loves us. we are not just flesh and blood – not “just human” – we are children of God and are his ambassadors and witnesses here on earth – in the good, the bad ad the ugly… It isn’t about being real but about having faith in our Father God… Faith is demonstrated in our actions… Arise and shine, remember for such a time as this you were called and live. Remember those around you need to know the hope you have… and remember Romans 8:37-39 “But in all these things we more than conquer through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”