God is our refuge and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
(Psalm 46:1, NLT)
I don’t know about you, but I fervently try to arrange my life to minimize as much trouble as possible.
I’m usually unsuccessful.
Because we know in this life, there will be troubles and tribulations.
Jesus told us to expect them.
“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” (John 16:33, NLT)
But the Lord uses these difficult times, if we let him.
“The things we try to avoid – tribulation, suffering and persecution – are the very things that produce abundant joy in us.” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Hightest)
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
Completion doesn’t come easily. It comes with a cost: tribulation, suffering and persecution, troubles and testing. But we can respond with joy because of what the Lord is doing in the midst of them.
However, I don’t want to just focus on our response and the reasons for these things. I want to look at the truth of our role in them.
The Lord reminded me of something significant about the battles we experience. Not only is he our refuge and strength, he is the one who fights for us.
“Each of you will put to flight a thousand of the enemy for the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised.” (Joshua 23:10, NLT)
The Lord has his role in the battle: he fights.
And I have my role: I stand firm.
“Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11, NLT)
“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13, NLT)
When we stand firm, we resist the devil and like it says in Joshua, we will put to flight a thousand of the enemy.
“So humble yourselves before God. Resist (stand firm against) the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
These truths do not mean it will be easy. But we will get through it.
“You’ll get through this. It won’t be painless. It won’t be quick. But God will use this mess for good. In the meantime don’t be foolish or naïve. But don’t despair either. With God’s help you will get through this.”
(Max Lucado, You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times)
When we go through the times of trouble, be encouraged and remember the rest of Jesus’ promise.
“But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NLT)
Father, give me the faith to stand firm, for I know the battle is yours. You promise when I resist the devil, he will flee and I claim that truth right now. Fight the battles I face because I know you are victorious and you have overcome the world. I praise you for what you are doing in the midst of it all.
Grace & Peace