As I sat next to this precious, beautiful child of God I watched a single tear well up and roll down her cheek.
“Maybe I can’t do it. I want to believe I can, but I don’t.”
Her head went down as she said the words in despair. She had grown up in a home that loved and respected God. Faithful Christian parents had taken her to hundreds of Bible classes from before she could even remember. But as of late in her young life, events had left her overwhelmed. She was struggling to manage all life was throwing at her. And somewhere along the line she began to believe that the confidence she lacked in being successful through trying times was in herself.
When life is hard and we are knocked about by challenges, it is easy to fall prey to Satan’s lie that it is up to us to “be strong”. But how can we do it? How can we endure? How can mere dust of the earth face such a powerful enemy and be successful (Psalms 103:14)?
The simple answer is: We can’t…
I realize that statement is not very encouraging. In fact, it is downright depressing and seemingly hopeless. Thankfully though, the simple answer doesn’t end with a period. Notice the ellipsis.
We can’t…but God does. It is not overly complicated but sometimes overlooked by children of God who are engrossed in the heat of spiritual battle or who feel overwhelmed beyond their strength.
Elisha’s servant experienced this blind spot when all he could see were the Syrian horses and chariots surrounding the city. His alarm caused Elisha to pray to God not for deliverance, but for the ability for his servant to see the triumphant power of God. “So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha”(2 Kings 6:15-17).
Isn’t it possible for us to have the unwavering confidence in God’s victory like Elisha or like David up against Goliath when he said, “…but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts….that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s…” (I Samuel 17:45-47)? Or stand like Caleb in Numbers 13:30 when he said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it”? Or Moses holding fast to the victory over the Egyptians at the crossing of the Red Sea where he told the Israelites to “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you today.” Can’t we have that resolute determination to see the Lord’s victory like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who, although they had no guarantee they would be saved from the fiery furnace, were confident in God’s power to deliver them? Through death or preservation in the midst of fire, God would be victorious (Daniel 3:16-18)!
Splashed across the pages of the Old Testament are victories not won by the people’s own physical strength or military prowess. They would have been impossible if not for the presence of the power of God. It changed the landscape of countries, rulers and people. They were children of Israel. How much more should we expect victory in our struggles being children of The Almighty? Granted, these conquests are harder to see with earthly eyes. Being spiritual in nature, they change the landscape of our hearts, effecting our character and molding us into a greater likeness to our Heavenly Father.
As Christians, God has already won the war. We have the ultimate victory. But like Joshua given the land of Canaan and then told to go conquer it, our commission is to engage the enemy and never give up until our King tells us to lay down our sword. Make no mistake, it is a mammoth undertaking to fight forces of evil. Some conflicts will be harder than others, last longer, require more endurance and reliance on God’s power, but He always provides the indomitable armor, weapons and victory (Ephesians 6:10-18). We decide whether we will rise to the challenge and utilize what God has given. As His children we have access to the Spirit of God abiding within us, His precious Word, His family and prayer. Even if we lose a battle—we stumble and sin—all is not lost. Christ’s victory over Satan is evident in His grace when we repent (Luke 15:10). By forgiveness the Kingdom prevails once again.
But if Satan can subtly shift our thinking ever so slightly to trust in our own spiritual strength—even in small part—to achieve success, our confidence and dependence on God’s power to be victorious begins to diminish. When the thought begins to emerge that it is we who grow stronger through trials at the expense of total trust in God’s strength, we are robbed of what we desperately need to continue to make it through the toughest challenges (2 Corinthians 1:9).
Thanks be to God, He has equipped us with the power to change how we think (Philippians 4:8). Saturating our hearts and minds with the truth of the power of God’s victory, meditating on it and praying fervently, we can be encouraged to increase our faith and reliance on our Mighty Savior (Romans 10:17). It can open our eyes to see victory knowing that it is not up to our human frailties and weaknesses to be successful (2 Corinthians 12:9).
So for that precious, beautiful girl sitting beside me doubting she could do and be what God wants and for all of us that have struggled or are in the midst of a battle now, here a some verses and meditations to increase our faith and reliance on Him and give us hope. (Here is a July Divine Percolations printable of these affirmations. At the bottom of each printable page, there are directions for how to make effective use of them.)
Romans 8:37-39 (ESV)
“No, in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
All those things more powerful than me cannot take God’s love from me. Everyday I am victorious because Christ died for me and I have chosen to live for Him. By His indomitable, unfailing love I can bravely face whatever life throws at me.
Psalm 18:16-18 (ESV)
“He sent from on high, He took me: He drew me out of many waters. He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support.”
No matter what tragedy or hardship befall me, I am undaunted in the knowledge that the Lord will sustain me. I completely depend on Him to get me through the difficulties.
1 Corinthians 15:57 (ESV)
“But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I have deep appreciation for my Lord’s domination of the greatest enemy. I am no longer a victim. In Christ Jesus I can experience that marvelous victory.
“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”
I am secure knowing that God is my protector, guardian, rescuer and defender. My heart swells with praise for His everlasting salvation.
1 John 5:4 (ESV)
“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”
In becoming a Christian, God has already made me a conqueror. I can look, act, sound and think like the child of my Heavenly Father to whom I was born. I can hold my head up high placing all my trust in Christ Jesus my Savior.
Psalm 108:13; 60:12 (ESV)
“With God we shall do valiantly; it is He who will tread down our foes.”
Because of my Master’s supreme power to prevail over the enemy, I choose to draw on His strength, determination and patience through any adversity.
“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.”
When defeat or discouragement threatens me, I resolve to become more firmly entrenched in the truth that the Lord Jesus Christ has established Himself as King of kings and Lord of lords crushing Satan’s dominion over my soul.
2 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV)
“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”
Following my triumphant Lord I draw hope and boldness that He will use me to glorify Him to others as I face challenges and trials.
By Cheri Deaver
Cheri is wife to Weylan Deaver who preaches at the Sherman Drive Church of Christ in Denton, Texas. She is mother to Orrin, Lacey, Lexie and Ethan, as well as a new mother-in-law to Aubrie Deaver. She is blessed beyond measure for which God has so richly provided.