We have all had times in our lives when things get tough. The world has a way of throwing challenges our way when we least expect it or when we are least capable of handling them. Sometimes the challenges get so difficult that we may want to give up. What should we do when we get to that point? We should follow the example of three men in the Bible who faced very difficult challenges but kept the faith: Jeremiah, Daniel, and Paul.
Because of Jeremiah’s prophecies to the people of Judah, King Zedekiah had him seized and thrown in a cistern where he sank into deep mud (Jer. 38:6-7, ESV). When King Zedekiah had him taken out of the muddy hole, Jeremiah never wavered in telling the king the prophecies of the Lord concerning Jerusalem (38:17-18). Daniel knew that if he prayed to anyone other than to King Darius, he would be thrown in the lion’s den. Nevertheless, he prayed to God three times a day, and was indeed thrown in the den of lions (Dan. 6). Paul withstood severe hardship as he spread the gospel. He was given 39 lashes five times, beaten with rods three times, stoned once, shipwrecked three times, and in constant danger (2 Cor. 11:24-26). Still, Paul continued to share the good news. What was it about these men that allowed them to persevere in such dire circumstances?
First, they served God. Just as Joshua decided to serve God (Josh. 24: 15), these men decided to serve God. Next, they obeyed God. As Peter and the apostles stood before the Jewish council after being told not to teach about Jesus, they told the council, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). When pressured by men Jeremiah, Daniel, and Paul obeyed God rather than the men oppressing them. Finally, they trusted God. In the fourth chapter of Philippians, Paul said he learned to be content in whatever circumstance he was in (vs. 11), because “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (vs. 13). This trust in God is what kept Jeremiah, Daniel, and Paul strong and able to overcome their challenges. Brethren, when life’s challenges get you down, remember the example of Jeremiah, Daniel, and Paul. Serve, obey, and trust God.