When we consider the lives of many of God’s greatest servants, we tend to disregard their weaknesses and place them on pedestals that they themselves would be the first to cast aside.
Murder, adultery, doubt, denial, desertion, and selfishness are among the character traits found in many of the greatest Biblical personalities, even AFTER their salvation!
Like every one of us, all of these believers had their faults that are often manifested in times of adversity. Anyone can be “nice” when things are going their way.
The prosperity of the wicked and the adversity received by a believer (Ps. 73) is by far one of the greatest challenges of the spiritual life. While no discipline is enjoyable, most of us can come to accept the self-induced misery that we bring upon ourselves. It is when we have done nothing wrong, and perhaps because we have done what is right, and suffer for it that our faith and commitment are challenged.
It takes great spiritual maturity to acknowledge that the adversity that God sends or allows to come into our lives is just as much a part of our spiritual life as is the pleasant blessings that we receive (Job 2: 10/Ps. 119:71).
Those who promote the Christianity as the means to secure a life of peaches and cream are totally ignorant of what the true post-salvation spiritual life is all about (Eph. 6: 12). The true spiritual life is a battle. One of the indicators that one has assumed his role in the battle is the degree and frequency of the satanic attacks that he/she receives!
In the course of spiritual warfare, there will be many times when we can relate to the words of Psalmist, “…Oh, that I had wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest….. (Psalms 55: 6 NIV).”
Bringing us to the “end of our ropes” through circumstances and events is a part of the post-salvation ministry of God the Holy Spirit. As long as we try to address our problems with human means and abilities, we will fail in the spiritual realm. It is only when we acknowledge our helplessness and our hopelessness, apart from Him (John 15:5) that He begins to work in our lives.
This work of God is a three-stage process. Stage one is the onset of the problem. Stage two is the acknowledgement that the problem is beyond human means to resolve. Stage three is the identification and application of the divine power and solution.
Every time we temporarily “fix” the problem with human solutions, God will bring the same issue(s) back to us in another event or set of circumstances until we finally see the spiritual issue(s) that God the Holy Spirit is bringing to our attention for correction.
The frustrating part (humanly speaking) in all of this is that the process never ends! Even when we overcome certain problems in our lives, God then raises the next issue that He wants to address. Since the fallen nature remains within us throughout all of our lifetime (Rom.7), so does the need to identify and address the pressure it produces.
The solution to such frustration is to acknowledge that it is God who is behind all of this and by learning to address our issues His way, we can have the “peace of God that transcends all understanding (Phil .4:7 NIV)” in the midst of all the adversity that comes our way.
There are two human “fixes” to the adversity of life. One is avoidance; the other is escape. Unfortunately NEITHER one resolves the issues and often times only makes matters worse.
There will always be the natural desire to escape the problem as quickly and as painlessly as possible. This may or may not prove to be God’s will as He reveals it in response to our prayers for deliverance.
Some say that God hasn’t answered their prayers, but this is NOT so. Every prayer receives its immediate answer. The answer is “yes” when the problem is immediately resolved, it is “no” when it is clear that the situation is not going to end as we had desired, and the answer is “not right now” when there seems to be no change(s) taking place.
Be it God’s will for us to endure or to escape, He will provide the means for either one according to His power, plan, and timing, not ours (Luke 22:42)!
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