We have just been through a year of great trials in our world. With the Texas floods, California fires and the New York Bombs, it seems like we are surrounded by disaster. It is easy to get caught up in anger and fear when we see the world in chaos around us. However, God does not see the world as we see it. God sees hope in the midst of our pain, and joy in the midst of despair.
2018 is a year of awakening for God’s people. It is a time where He is calling forward the faithful and breathing new life into the lost. We are in a battlefield, and hope is the strength that is going to fortify us to continue on in these last days.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Tribulation amongst God’s people has never been a secret. Even from the beginning of time when Adam and Eve faced the temptation in the Garden, God’s people have been constantly under enemy attack. However, the point of all this enemy attack is to get us to lose hope. If we lose hope in God, then we lose sight of the truth of who we are and why we are here.
Remember how the Israelites were ready to move into the Promised Land, but the story of giants caused them to give up all hope and beg to return to Egypt. Just like the Israelites, we must understand that the battle ahead of us is not our own, but the Lord’s. He has already promised to fight on our behalf, if we only join Him in trust and faith.
If we put all of our hope in what is seen, how can we believe in a Mighty God who is bigger than the spiritual battle raging around us? Indeed we will fall prey to the devil’s wiles and find ourselves even further into hopelessness and despair.
And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands.
2017 has been a year of great revelation of God’s character for me. I fought many battles of depression, anger and hopelessness. I saw many days where I was stuck in the mud and had no inclination to get out. I couldn’t even call out to Jesus to pull me out. I just stayed there feeling helpless.
However, even in the midst of my struggles I encountered a God who was bigger and stronger than all of my pain and anger. No matter what the devil has done to try to take me down, here I am, strong and mighty in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord is mighty to save and even mightier to love. It is His love that gives us hope, rescues us, redeems us, and makes us whole. Without the love of our Creator, we feel lost and incomplete in this world, unable to find any joy whatsoever.
Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9
There was a time when as a child, I was locked in a crawl space for days at a time. I was put there as punishment for rebellion against my elders and for calling on the name of Jesus Christ. In that dark and lonely place I knew despair and hopelessness intimately. I ran on hatred of those who punished me, knowing that one day revenge could be mine.
Yet it was in the midst of that darkness and despair that I could hear the voice of Jesus Christ the clearest. He whispered words of compassion and mercy into my soul, reminding me that He was there and that I was His; that I was loved.
You can never imagine how deep those words resonated as they filled my spirit and drowned out the despair. Even while my soul was being fractured into multiple pieces, my spirit was able to rest in His presence. You see, the devil may affect our mind, but it is the Lord who protects our spirit. Our spirit is eternal and is the one thing the devil wishes to destroy more than anything.
But the LORD is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me.
We are all like little children locked away in the darkness sometimes. We are filled with fear and anger that bubbles up out of great pain. We can’t see past the darkness of our own circumstances to know that while temporarily we are bound, eternally we are free. Freedom always comes at a high price, and that price is our own willingness to let go of fear and trust in the Lord.
Our Father is a good and loving Father. He does not always pull us up out of terrible circumstances, but He always plans something good to come in the midst of them. If we are willing to hold on to hope and believe in the goodness of the Lord in our lives, we will begin to clearly see what He is doing. There is no act of the devil, no circumstance in life, that can stop the Lord God Almighty.
I do not look back on my past with anger and fear. I look back as a testimony and a reminder of how good my God is. He has been faithful in my life, and constant. He has shown me that great terror could not corrupt me as it was meant to. All the devils schemes and works in this world are useless compared to the love of a Mighty God.
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
I am so thankful for my past, and the wreckage I have left behind, because without it I would not be who I am today. Strong, compassionate, loyal, and zealous for the Lord. No one can tell me that God doesn’t love or protect His children, for I know first hand that it is true.
It is not just true for me, but also for you. You, my brothers and sisters are just as loved and protected in the midst of the tribulation of this world. Many schemes of the enemy have fallen short in your life because of the mighty hand of God. He has brought you out of Egypt and shown you the promised land and whispered the truth of who you are in the midst of your pain. Now it is time for you to trust Him and walk by faith into what He has promised you.
You are a warrior and a child of the Most High God. There is nothing that can change or stop that, no matter the circumstances or lies you have believed. Embrace this new year with a new hope, knowing that the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob is the same God who watches over you. He is calling you out of the darkness and out of hiding. The time has come to fight and renew your strength on His wings.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
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