Welcome back to our 31 Days to Hallway Praise challenge! How are you doing so far? Today's assignment is a good one!
One of the great things about God's Word is that it's full of stories about real people who had struggles just like we do. Abraham had to leave his homeland; Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth were barren; David and Solomon had trouble with their children (among other things); Joseph was wrongly accused; Paul was imprisoned and shipwrecked for the name of Christ.
Chances are good that there are Bible characters you can easily resonate with. Why not find one or two of them to study?
As you read about these real-life people who had hardships just like you do, consider a few things:
- How did they respond to their hardships?
- Do they set a good example to follow, or a poor one to avoid? (Esther gave God glory; Jonah complained.)
- What can you learn from them?
- Can you apply some of the same things they did to your own circumstances?
- Are they mentioned in the New Testament somewhere? If so, why are they mentioned? (For example, several people are commended in the Hebrews "hall of faith" chapter.)
One reason for studying Bible characters is because they are real people. They aren't made up or fabricated. The things they experienced really did happen. There can be a lot of encouragement in that. If those people set Godly examples for us to follow, and if the same God of the Universe who worked in their lives is at work in us today, it means that we can set a Godly example for others, too.
Isn't it amazing to think that the Lord might be using us to help encourage someone else? We may not know the full impact of our responses until we reach Heaven. But we can strive to set a Godly example, knowing that people are watching, even if we don't always see them. What motivation for clinging to the Lord during times of hardship!
Today's action steps: Read up on some of the people in the Bible who went through tough times. Job, Daniel, and many of the prophets are good choices; you could also consider some of the people who came to Jesus for help and healing, such as Jairus and the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' robe. Use a concordance or an online commentary to find all the passages that mention the people you choose. See if someone has written a Bible study on them. Ask yourself what you can learn from them. Jot down your answers and read them often as you continue on your own journey through the hallway.