The rugged climb doesn’t dissuade the determined mountain climber; he revels in the challenge. Nothing can stop him from pressing on until he reaches his goal. No adversity can cause him to turn back. When he looks at the steep cliffs ahead, he doesn’t focus on the danger but on the toeholds and narrow rock ledges that will take him to the peak. He isn’t held back by the harshness of his surroundings or the toll the climb is taking on his body; he is propelled onward and upward by the thought of triumph.
Question: I have struggled for years with jealousy. I know my husband loves me, and he gives me no real reason to feel jealous, but I can’t help myself. How can I be free from the grip of jealousy?
Answer: Jealousy—that nasty feeling that you get when you think your partner is neglecting you for someone or something else—can be both irrational and overpowering. Recognizing that jealousy is wrong, that it’s a problem, is the first step, but many people don’t see it that way; they consider it a virtue, or at least a natural, acceptable part of loving someone. Of course those people are unable to overcome it; they don’t even try to.
When Jesus climbed the mountain, He left the multitude behind. “And seeing the multitudes, He [Jesus] went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him” (Matthew 5:1). Mountain peaks are never crowded. Why? Because it’s hard work getting there. Not very many people desire to climb mountains.
There is more light on the mountain. Long after the valley is in darkness, you can still see the sun. The valley is almost always dark—full of people and things, but usually in darkness. The mountain is windy and cold, but thrilling.
Question: If God loves me, why does He let bad things happen to me?
Answer: One advantage of passing through trying times is that we are drawn closer to God by being drawn closer to Jesus, our Savior and Friend. We seek safety and security in His arms, and we find that and more. He loves us with a love that is everlasting and never changes. He has so much to give us, and He desires to help us in so many ways. He wants to spend time with us, and He longs to have us close to Him, always by His side, to teach us, and to make us more like Himself.
There will always be those who will tell you it can’t be done, but throughout history, progress has always come from those who said it could be done.
—Mottos for Success (MFS)
A prayer by Maria Fontaine
Thank You, dear Jesus, that You’re the greatest problem solver. You came to solve mankind’s biggest problem—our need for salvation, to be freed from having to pay the price for our sins. But You didn’t stop there. During Your earthly life You solved so many other problems. When there was no wine at the wedding, You created more wine.1 When people came to You with their health problems, even ones they’d had for many years, You healed them.2 When there was no food for the multitudes You were teaching and everyone was hungry, You multiplied the loaves and fishes.3 When the adulterous woman was about to be stoned, You had a big problem on Your hands, but with great wisdom, humility, and love You put the hypocrites in their place and not only saved but changed the woman’s life.4
Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.
The good things of prosperity are to be wished; but the good things that belong to adversity are to be admired.
—Seneca (4 bc–65 ad)
We know that both heredity and environment help make us who we are. We hear from infancy that we have our mother’s eyes or our father’s chin—visible evidence of the role of heredity. It’s also obvious that children who are stimulated intellectually are more likely to excel academically, and that athletes who have the best coaches and training programs are more likely to reach their full potential—proof of the role of environmental influences.
Don’t be afraid of sorrows; they will pass.
Psalm 30:11: You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.
Psalm 126:5: Those who sow in tears Shall reap in joy.
Matthew 5:4: Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
“I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39 NIV). That is one of the most outstanding proclamations of faith ever made, and it was made by a man who endured years of troubles and tribulations that most of us, thank God, will never have to go through, the apostle Paul.