A Reason to Hope – Preparing for Battle. In his message last Sunday, Pastor Jason spoke on spiritual warfare. He talked about our formidable enemy, Satan, and his schemes. “His main agenda,” Jason said, “is to drag as many people as he can away from God.” O.K. So I let this sink in…
All this time I have looked at my life, at trials, as tests for building perseverance like it talks about in James 1:3-4. I have been told that they have a God-sent purpose of building in me strong character. I have even cried out, “No more character, God, please!” I have attributed the trials as coming from God to mold and sculpt me in the way that He wishes, even pointing to the book of Job to support my belief.
But Jason talked about Job and he pointed to the character in that story that I had been overlooking, Satan. Suddenly it hit me: What was Satan’s agenda in that scenario? He wanted to make Job turn away from God. So God said, “Go ahead. Give it your best shot and we will see if my servant Job is faithful."
Now. Personally I had to look at the point I wasn’t getting before: Satan is the one who sent the trials! He is the enemy, and God is our “Reason to Hope!” because, as I often tell my kids, the end of the story has already been written - God wins!
Still, I had been asking God why, if He loved me, was He making my life so very hard to bear, with burden upon burden added to our backs. I knew He was asking me to trust Him, but seriously until this day I didn’t see what it was He was asking me to trust in. That it would “all work out in the end?” – no, I knew that wasn’t necessarily something that He promised us. I had been told over and over that I could trust in His presence, but honestly I felt only distance. After another look at Job, at the scene that takes place in heaven, I saw that the thing God was asking me to trust in was His Love. God had confidence that Job, having known the intimacy of a love-relationship with God, would not let it go, no matter what the devil threw at him. And God was proved right in Job’s case. Amazing. In putting myself in those shoes I see God’s confidence that I, having known Him personally and through His word for so many years also won’t turn away from that kind of love.
It became clear to me that I had been giving the enemy considerable ground in this war. I had been letting our trials cause me to feel separated from God’s love. Just what our formidable enemy wanted me to do! His plan had been working. But no more! I know now that I need to put my faith in this promise from Romans 8:38-39: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height not depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Thank you Lord, that you continue to speak into my life and that you gave me this promise once again to hold on to and rest in your great love. Amen.