Written by: Mitch Woods, HighRise Treasurer

If anyone knows a thing or two about strength, it’s Arnold Schwarzenegger.  In our world today, we tend to admire strength, however we usually only see the end results and not the hard work, determination, and grit it takes someone to get there.  Arnold said “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

With the winter olympics ending recently, we were reminded time and time again of the strength it takes for athletes to compete at that level.  It isn’t enough to be physically strong, but olympic athletes are strong mentally and emotionally as well. There are so many stories of determination and grit that can help us see what it takes to be some of the best athletes in the world.  I’m reminded of Pita Taufatofua, the man from Tonga, who was determined to represent his country in both the summer and winter olympics. He learned how to ski in a country covered in sand (and probably as hot as it is in Thailand!), only training for 3 months in snow before the olympic games, and placed 114th out of 116.  What a story of strength and determination!

God calls us to a life where comfort isn’t guaranteed.  In fact, Jesus says that we are going to struggle if we follow Him.  Our heart for the Thai people is that their struggles can help them grow stronger and point them to the source of true strength, a relationship with Jesus.  In a culture that is predominantly Buddhist (even if just by cultural identification), struggles are often interpreted as karma – a punishment or circumstance related to a past action that is impacting their present situation.  We want to show them that God’s love for them isn’t dependent on what they’ve done, that it is an unconditional love that is beyond our human comprehension.

The awesome news is that even though Jesus says we are going to struggle, we also know the end of the story – He has overcome the world.  Join us in praying for the people of Thailand that they can see their struggles in the light of the good news of the gospel, understanding God’s unconditional agape love for His people.


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