She was just a little girl. But she knew that God was big, and that he would work through her to help others, if she would let him. She knew it wasn’t about what she could do, but rather what God could do through her willingness to follow his plans.

He was just a little boy. But he grew up knowing that God had a good plan for his life, even though he had walked through many difficult things at an early age.

They were just kids, but faith found a place to grow in their little hearts. They didn’t question it – they believed God loved them, and they allowed that knowledge to transform their lives. Living life when someone loves you changes everything. They didn’t know any better.

Then it began in earnest.

They heard the naysayers, telling them that life was too hard, there wasn’t enough money, and that people were too rotten in this world. They were told that hope is stupid and dreams are better left to die on the floor than to be lived out. They were told that they weren’t good enough or pretty enough or smart enough. Disappointment, discouragement, and depression wanted to take hold of them and ruin God’s dreams for them, but eventually they saw the lies and followed God past them.

And deep in their hearts, they knew the truth. They lived like they were loved by God. They pursued the dreams that had been birthed in their hearts. And they grew up to accomplish great things because they believed.

Life is full of difficulty; there is no denying that fact. But in the midst of it, we carry hope within our hearts. 1 Corinthians 4:7-10 and 16-18 (MSG) says this,

If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

Many lives have been impacted — including their own — because they believed. What things in your life have you remained faithful to, even amidst discouragement?