Saturday, January 6, 2018

Standing Strong During Writing Adversity

by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

It’s the first of a new year. Many of us have spent a lot of time the past few weeks eating too much Christmas goodies and thinking about our writing, looking back at the last year at our achievements and missed goals and planning ahead for new goals.

I seem to be bouncing back and forth between two extremes—joy about what the new year may bring and fear of the same thing. I like my routines. If I meet my goals, it would mean greater responsibilities. More demands. And (gulp) change.

Why is change so scary? Sometimes even paralyzing?

One of the goals I set in November should have taken just a couple of days. Yet, it’s now two months later and it still isn’t finished. And, to be honest, I haven’t done the first step. (I always break goals into smaller steps.)

Why? I’ve done much harder things. I even have a plan. But I’m still stuck.

It comes down to fear. My fear has two very common causes; I’m doing something I’ve never done before, and it may bring big and unexpected changes in my life. Doing something new and change are boogey men to a lot of us, aren’t they?

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to take the first step.

But fear isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Everyone deals with fear. You can’t know how strong you are without challenges.  It is our reaction to it, freezing up or settling for less, that makes it a problem.

I know that some people say that Christians shouldn’t feel fear, that the Bible tells us to be anxious for nothing. And that works when your biggest decision of the day is whether to watch Ellen or Judge Judy. But God often sends us into the field against a big, old, hairy Goliath, or the whole cast of Mean Girls. 

I just finished reading Dr. Charles Stanley’s new book, Standing Strong. He reminds us that when you’re facing something that seems too much— a health scare, a threat of losing your job, a problem in a relationship—our convictions can help us get through. But they must be based on truth.

Dr. Stanley has been the pastor of his church since 1971, but most of us know him from his TV shows and from his voice on radio. He’s written over sixty books with sales of more than ten million copies. (Get away from me, Envy.)

In his book, he uses the construction of a building to illustrate how we can face the challenges we come up against, even those we assume for the coming year.

First, we need a good foundation.

“Everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against the house; and yet it did not fall.” (Matt. 7:24-25)

One of the most important convictions we need is to be sure of our relationship with God. Do you think He wants YOU to succeed? How does He feel about you?

Or, are do you feel like you’ve been left to your own means and abilities? He may have built the universe, but you think\ He’s too busy, or uncaring, to act in your life.

But if God calls us to be His children, (I John 3:1) then He wouldn’t just throw us in the back yard and forget about us, would He?

Second, we need to build with the right materials.

“If any man builds on a foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will be evident.” (I Cor. 3:10-12)

Two convictions Dr. Stanley mentions stick out to me.

For the new year, am I looking to build something for me, or for Him? His promises are there if we follow Him, not if we walk out on our own.

Do I see adversity as a burden, or a chance for God to work in me?

I like that the Bible is honest. It doesn’t say we won’t face adversity. It comes upon everyone. Even Billy Graham. Sometimes his toothpaste spills onto his sink. Even Jesus. Want to talk to Him about betrayal?

But how will I react to a challenge. Will I just put it off or think I’ve missed my chance? Or should I step out there and see what God has planned?

So, how does this all work?

Basing our plans, our blueprints, on what God promises us gives us the strength to face whatever’s ahead, even change. If we know God, that He is all powerful, all knowing, and all loving, then we can accept that we don’t walk into the new year alone.

Trust and obey.

Isn’t it easier to trust someone when you think they have your best interests at heart?

Then our obedience, though it may not be easy, will be easier, right?

Standing Strong is a good reminder that we aren’t in this alone. The One who walks with us can face anything we’ll face ahead. Dr. Stanley shows that our trust in God isn’t based on just hope, but on His word.

Which makes the strongest foundation.

Which of God promises most encourage you for the new year?


Tim Suddeth has been published in Guideposts’ The Joy of Christmas and on He’s working on his third manuscript and looks forward to seeing his name on a cover. He is a member of ACFW and Cross n Pens. Tim’s lives in Greenville, SC with his wife, Vickie, and his happy 19-year-old autistic son, Madison.  Visit Tim at and on Facebook and Twitter. He can be also reached at


  1. Tim. Thank you for the reminder that God is trustworthy. When I go through adversity, doubt, or illness, I remember how much God loves me. I try to ask Him what He's teaching me through the ordeal.
    By the Way, I love Charles Stanley. I've been listening to him for 27 years. When God first saved me I started working at a Christian radio station. I learned from some of the best while working there. Happy New Year, Tim.

  2. HI Cherrilynn. Happy new year. He never stops teaching us.

  3. Great post, Tim. The idea of "settling for less" hit home with me. We often settle when our heavenly Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills. And how God never leaves us to our own means. I'm in trouble if that were true. All wonderful reminders for the new year. Thanks!

  4. Beautiful message for the New Year in the midst of a thousand blogs on goal setting. Turning to God in all circumstances is a mighty message to take into 2018. Thanks and blessings to you this year.

  5. This is an anchor post to hold onto when fear tries to take me in dark waters. Thanks for sharing this power pack message, Tim.
    Write on!

  6. My husband and I are the new owners of the tiny store where he's worked for 10 years. The former owner retired and encouraged my husband to keep the store going. This phrase stands out as important in my venture as writer, and as store owner.
    "For the new year, am I looking to build something for me, or for Him? His promises are there if we follow Him, not if we walk out on our own."
    Thank you for your words of strength and courage.