In the days we live in, survival is not just a word in a storybook or a new program on TV—it’s a part of life. It can be a financial struggle to keep from losing everything we have worked so hard for or an emotional storm that seems to carry us farther away from the peaceful shore.

Many of my closest friends and loved ones (including myself) have been faced with fear and discouragement as we fought the battle of sickness and disease. Some clergy friends were ready to leave their ministries or churches after the people they poured their life into turned on them. I have personally learned I can’t focus on circumstances, bad news reports, the doctors’ scary diagnoses, physical limitations, or abandonment of people. I must keep my eyes on Jesus, the One who gives me hope in hopeless situations.

Fear and discouragement are powerful, destructive tools of the enemy. They can cause us to imagine the worst and try to get us to believe we should just give up without even trying to go on. Fear can actually paralyze a person, making her powerless and unable to function. However, fear—when confronted by the Word of God—becomes powerless. The truth of His Word fills us with renewed courage.

In the first chapter of 2 Timothy, Paul encourages Timothy to remain faithful. He reminds him that God has not given him a spirit of fear, but instead He has given him a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline. Paul states that he was abandoned by those close to him—those he trusted. But then he focused on those who were faithful. Paul encouraged Timothy to guard, with the help of the Holy Spirit, what God had entrusted to him: the pattern of sound teaching, faith and love in Christ Jesus.

If you have been fearful . . . betrayed . . . abandoned . . . discouraged . . . and you feel like giving up, let me encourage you today. Put your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. You will not only survive this trial, you will finish well—for within you is the Spirit of God, developing the heart of an overcomer! Study His Word like a training manual for surviving in the wilderness, exercise your faith like an athlete preparing for the Olympics, and believe in the depths of your being that Jesus loves you and He is with you. 

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. —Galatians 6:9

Judy Buffum-Hemmila is a prayer intercessor who has traveled with Women of Faith to events to pray over every aspect of the weekend.