by Paula Harrington

I was talking to a group of friends recently about certain verses that have helped us during particular times of our lives. It’s hard to narrow the entire Bible down to one or two encouraging verses, but the ones that seem to pop into my mind more than others are found in James 4.

Too often, I repeat those familiar words:

“Submit to God. Resist the devil. Draw near to God and He will draw near to me” (James 4:7).

Why after all these years do I need to continually remind myself to draw near to the Creator of my soul? If I’m going to be honest with you, then this is where I would admit to being a bit stubborn.

My first instinct isn’t to give God control of my situations. I’m more likely to try to work them out on my own first. Can you relate?

Life is difficult, and it’s not meant to be lived alone. As children of the Heavenly Father, we need him to survive and thrive. Life can often be like quicksand.

Frustrations, doubt, schedules, bad attitudes, and every other kind of fear are weighing us down, but Jesus is standing nearby quietly whispering, “Take my hand and you’ll be ok.”

However, sometimes, we’re quick to reply, “I’ve got this. I can work it out on my own.” And there he stands; waiting for us to realize that we don’t and we can’t.

As we try to wrap our minds around our struggles, Jesus offers to take them off our hands. Even when we take his hand and firmly grasp to the only hope we have, he doesn’t always pull us out of that quicksand.

Sometimes he just holds us tightly assuring us that we will not be overtaken.

Life can hurt. Take that nail scarred hand and find the peace and comfort that is so readily available. Hear the one who quieted the storm say, “I won’t let you fall” and believe him.

Find happiness in the certainty that you are not alone regardless of what you face. And remember, joy begins where fear ends.

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