God has been speaking to us and guiding us in many ways. I’ve been wanting to share how He has been guiding us, so much so that there is another blog I wrote (but didn’t post) with the same ideas, but I find that the ideas are now even more appropriate in relation to the previous post than standing on its own. So if you haven’t read “Spiritual Warfare”, go ahead and scroll down first, because this is essentially part two.
There are many battlefields in the spiritual realm: our hearts, the hearts of the people we work with, for, and/or against, the ideas we have, the tasks before us, etc. In all things that involve God, there is warfare. And in my mind, everything in life involves God, therefore we are in a constant battle of good vs evil.
At the same time, God has given us a promise of victory in Him. With our faith in Christ, He gives us access to the glory of God, His character (see Exodus 33:18-34:7). As Paul writes in Romans 5, “Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have access by faith into this grace…, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Our faith will lead us, onward and forward, to His glory. All the challenges we encounter are to build us into a more perfect and more compassionate person.
Trials are to create perseverance in us; patience, endurance. So if something stands in our way, it’s not for us to back down, to wait, we have to push on. Like Nehemiah, when problems come, when obstacles stand in the way, it is for us to respond, “The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you [obstacles/naysayers] have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.” God will prosper us when we are about His business.
Now here’s where He’s been teaching us: Our victory comes through surrender. Maybe some of you have heard of “The Pineapple Story,” a testimony of a missionary (Otto something) in Papua New Guinea who tried and tried to grow pineapples, and never could. Then the trees started producing fruit, and the villagers would steal every single one. He never got any. When he gave the patch completely to God, and stopped caring if they were stolen, then God took it into His own hands, and the villagers stopped stealing and actually started giving him pineapples. It’s a good story with lots of lessons. Maybe Google would have some of his talks. Anyways, listening to him, we are finding that the only way we can find true success is by giving it, 100%, no-strings-attached to God, and leaving Him to do it.
So when we were having troubles understanding our roles in Chad, we gave it to God. We said, “Lord, if you wanted us to come out here to be babies, eat, sleep, and poop, that’s up to you. We give up trying to find our own reasons for being here.” When we gave it up, that’s when He started making our roles clear to us. When I gave up my desire to see elephants in Zakouma, that’s when He showed them to me, more elephants than I ever imagined.
As the old hymn goes, “Did we in our own strength confide, Our striving would be losing”. Everything we try to do in our own strength, if we are losing, it is to create perseverance, and character. If our projects aren’t getting done, no matter how hard we try, God still assures us of victory if we hand it upwards (give up) to Him. Then it is in His hands, “and He must win the battle.”
So with the battles we face, and the issues that rage in our hearts, our relationships, our projects, they are tools that God is using to train us to give our trials up, to Him. Only with God are all things possible.
So if your marriage isn’t Godly, and no matter what you do it’s not getting any better, turn to our compassionate God and say, “God, I can’t do anything more. I give up, it’s in Your hands. And if you want me to continue in this abusive relationship, that’s Your call. You know better than I do.” Now the trouble is no longer your responsibility.
Dr. Olen wrote about a similar experience on his blog relatively recently. Zane was on his deathbed, at the point of death. They had tried everything, and the precious life was almost gone. So Olen gave up, and gave him to God. Then a miracle happened; Zane revived and got better. Only the hand of God can work in such ways.
What is your struggle? We are all struggling. Give it up to God, He is the only one who can overcome. Are you hanging on to your life? Hanging on to your financial stability? Your relationship status? God has a solution for that. “Submit yourselves, therefore, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you…. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He (not we) will lift you up.” James 4:7,8,10.
Will we always get what we gave up? Not always. I still have lizards living in my house. I used to fuss and complain. Then I gave it to God, thinking they would leave. They didn’t, but I found myself caring less and less. God changed my heart, and He wants to change yours as well.
My prayers go out with this posting, prayers that you too may find the joy that we are finding, in absolute dependence on Him. He is our Light, our Strength, our Song.
God bless you all,
David & Sarah