Monday, July 16, 2012

Oppression? Opportunity!

(Thanks to Larry and Jane for inspiration on this one.)

     Satan seeks to thwart God’s purposes, and in the short term, the Lord allows him to be successful.

    “Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us” (I Thessalonians 2:18).

     God’s ultimate intentions cannot be thwarted.  “The Lord shall reign forever and ever…” God will “gather together in one all things in Christ”… “When He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (Exodus 15:18; Ephesians 1:10; I John 3:2).  Hosts of other Divine purposes beyond possibility of failure fill the pages of Scripture, assuring our hearts that all is well in the long term.

     Again, however, the short term presents a very different reality.  Our Heavenly Father often lengthens the leash of our enemies, granting them permission (as in the case of Job) to foist upon us great and grave challenges.  How we respond determines our experience in such times.  As we trust and submit unto God in times of devilish and fleshly attack, our hearts can remain at peace even as we feel the discomfort, uncertainty and pain our enemies foist upon us.  As a dear friend once testified after a hurricane severely damaged his house and property: “The outer courts are a shambles, but inner courts are at peace.”  My friend and his wife walked with the Lord through their trial, resulting in a testimony today of God’s faithfulness in the midst and aftermath of stormy trials. 

    The Apostle Paul did not whimper or cower because Satan hindered him from coming to the Thessalonians.  He rather used the circumstance to write two epistles of the New Testament that would likely not have existed had the devil not been allowed to thwart Paul’s honorable intentions.  For those who trust and submit unto God, His enemies always fall into the traps they form for the faithful (Psalm 9:15).  The cross of the Lord Jesus shines most brightly in this regard, as the devil motivated religious and political leaders to construct a gallows for Christ that would ultimately lead to glorious resurrection for both the Savior and the saved.  “Having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15).

     Every believer faces devilish hindrance.  We may or may not be aware of the specific nature of the challenge.  We therefore do well to seek our Heavenly Father’s guidance when challenge confronts us, seeking either deliverance from Satan’s attacks, or deliverance in those attacks.  Either way, the trusting believer overcomes enemies by the shield of faith that sees fiery darts as opportunity rather than oppression.  How will the Lord Jesus be revealed as King of kings and Lord of Lords in this conflict?  This is the question for all who live from His victory won on a cross that served as prelude for the resurrection, both His and ours…

“This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
(I John 5:4)

No comments: