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The challenger with us

By QuaWanna Bannarbie

These are challenging times.

My grandmother used to tell me stories of challenging times when she was a young girl. I particularly remember her sharing how she and her siblings would walk to school some days and because they were black, they were not allowed to ride the bus. She shared how the bus would pass right by them, and the kids on the bus would throw things from the windows and spit on them as it rode by. On many occasions, I recall telling my grandmother that God knew better than to have me born during those times, because I don’t think I would have survived. I listened to many of her stories and responded similarly. I held the belief that God ordained certain people to undergo certain seasons, because God knew who could withstand what challenges they faced.

I am here because Grandma Fannie continued to stand, although the challenges of her childhood were harsh and unfair. She endured. I believe God knew she would.

I am here because my grandmother’s ancestors survived the deplorable conditions of the forced voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to this New World. Many died in the middle passage journey that landed my family in rural Georgia. Although raids, starvation and epidemic-level illness threatened their lives, my people survived.

Connected to many challenges of the past, you will find the stories of people that the challenge could not outlast. You will find the record endurance of God’s created ones who knew not to surrender when the challenge was on.

So, what does that say about us today?

I just happen to believe that this season was meant to reveal to all of us that we were made for such a challenge as this one. If you are here to share the lessons learned of every hardship and back-breaking moment in your past, it speaks to what you never knew of the fighter that lives within you.

You and I are in a wrestling match, and the opponent wants to keep you from stretching your hand out to tag in your tag-team partner. Your opponent does not know we need not slap a hand outside the ring. Our partner is with us in the challenge.

In the Bible, Hebrews 12:1 reminds us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Mind you, it says the endurance is added with you during the race. This challenge before us means that we are receiving more power to bear and suffer through an unpleasant and difficult process that will have fruit for years to come. Those who have never known suffering can teach nothing of endurance. Our Heavenly Father would not have us to be weak; He strengthens us each day by the Holy Spirit.

God knew better than to have me born during the early 1900s. I am living now during these challenging times, because I thankfully have what I need to endure this. The Holy Spirit alive in me is the best tag team partner anyone could have.

QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of Nonprofit Leadership and Management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via QNikki_Notes or iamquawanna@thebiggerme.net.