Be Strong When It Matters

Photo by Josep Castells on Unsplash

“If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!”

~Proverbs 24:10

There are a lot of words that come to mind when I read this verse: character, integrity, will. I could be wrong, but I really believe the writer is pointing toward a mental and heart strength, not purely physical endurance. When you give up easily, break down, or can’t handle a difficult trial well, it points very clearly to what is inside of you: your character. The person you are is made most clear in times of trouble, not times of joy and prosperity.

One of the first stories I thought of when I read this is that of Urban Meyer. Coach Meyer was potentially the best college football coach of all time. He brought a winning culture and success to every place he went, even small schools like my alma mater, Bowling Green. Then a new opportunity came for him to be the head coach of the Jaguars, a professional team in the NFL. Unfortunately for Meyer, the experience could not have gone worse. There were coaching conflicts, coach-to-player issues, and a terrible video released of him at a bar at the beginning of the season. All that to say, it led to him being fired midseason, and it not only looked bad for him but for the entire organization.

I remember when it happened, I was struck. I was troubled. How could a great leader – one that I personally looked up to – go downhill so fast? Well, there’s a lot of answers, but here’s the most important one. When I talked to my dad about it, I told him that I thought Meyer had a strong character, and that most of my reaction was rooted in surprise. I can’t remember how exactly he said it, but my dad brilliantly responded something like, “but true character is shown in tough times, not when things are going well.” Wow. It was like he read right through the situation and got to the core of it all, while I was still caught up on the unimportant details.

Character is displayed in times of trouble, not in times of joy and prosperity. When we falter in times of trouble, it shows us, and the people around us, that we have not been developing a character that will be strong throughout blessing and trial. It shows that we have not been intentionally creating a person that will stay true to their values, no matter what happens. It gives light to our priorities, and shows just how small our strength is in the things that matter most.

Think forward in your life. Whether you are in a tough time right now or you are completely joyful, intentionally remind yourself and decide the person that you want to be. When the next trial comes, you will be able to push through the water, because your strength in who you’ve decided to become will stand firm. You will not falter.

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