Most of the world had never heard of Volodymyr Zelenskyy until Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Yet within days of the conflict, the Ukrainian president emerged as an inspiring example for much of the world due to his surprising bravery. Facing what seemed to be insurmountable odds, his persevering leadership has provided his country with more than just survival – they have shocked the world with their strength.
Much of their resolve is credited to the bold and brave leadership of their fearless head of state. When offered the opportunity to evacuate the country and save himself, Zelenskyy refused by stating,
“The fight is here. I need ammunition, not a ride.”Volodymyr Zelenskyy
What was so surprising about his boldness in the face of such opposition?
I think it’s because we rarely see people like him. Challenges often send people running from their problems rather than standing firm amidst them. An unknown leader became a cultural icon due to his bravery.
When he became president in 2019, he probably never imagined the challenging circumstances that awaited him. How many people would have reconsidered running for president if they had known what would happen with Russia three years later? I would have! Most of us would. I think if we could see half of the challenges coming our way, we would probably run and hide!
Just like President Zelenskyy, none of us know what the future holds. Unexpected events and unwelcomed challenges are around every imaginable corner. If you evaluate honestly, you probably have seen God grow your faith during challenging times. You may not ask for it, but it comes anyway. Challenge brings growth.
In the opening verses of the Book of James, we learn the persevering traits of faithful people.
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.James 1:2-12
What did we learn? In summary,
- Interpret trials joyfully because they are creating something helpful in you.
- Ask God for wisdom faithfully believing that He can give it to you in the midst of trials.
- Don’t trust superficial things when times get difficult.
- Remain steadfast now to enjoy blessings later.
Oftentimes, this world brings many battles our way. We often can’t find a ride out of the fight. We need ammunition. We need the equipment to keep up the fight. God provides people who approach Him in faith with a resolve like nothing else can bring.
We don’t know what challenges might come tomorrow, but we do know who will be faithful regardless of what they may be.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.