Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Agonizing Defeats, Glorious Victories!

“…we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.  Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us…” II Corinthians 1:8-10

Have you experienced a defeat, failure, or burden in life that seemed beyond your ability to endure?  We all may walk through valleys of seeming agonizing defeat, where we feel the “sentence of death,” but I believe that God is able to raise us up to a place of glorious victory!

When I started out in Christ I don’t think I realized it would be so hard.  I wanted to be like Jesus.  I wanted to know Him.  I wanted to walk closely with the Lord and do great things for Him.  But praying to be close to the Lord and actually going through the valley of despair and utter discouragement, where you feel like you’re at risk of losing it all, that’s a whole other story. 

The fact is, there are valleys deep, dark places in life.  I would venture to say that those who purpose to walk closely with the Lord may go through some of the darkest valleys of all.  We cannot pray them away.  We can’t possess so much faith that we rebuke them till they disappear. 

Sometimes the best faith is the faith that bears down and perseveres.  How about the faith that, though bewildered, though questioning God at every turn, though shaken to its very core by the sheer weight of the agony, gets up another day and presses on?  How about the faith that says, “God, I don’t understand this, but I will follow You.”

We rise up again to face another day.  Tested?  Yes.  Tried?  Indeed.  Despairing of life?  Sometimes, yes.  Nights where we cry out to God in agony of soul?  Yes, we’ve been there.  “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” (II Cor. 4:8-10) 

Thank God He has not assigned us to a life of perpetual failure and defeat.  We serve a God who raises the dead, who always causes us to triumph! (II Cor. 2:14)  The life of God flourishes in our deepest valleys, as we do walk closer with Him and we do become more like Him. 

As we press on in faith we are encouraged, and we encourage others.  We are ministers of the same life of God that raised us up from our darkest valley.  In fact, what we may see as a valley of defeat may be a pathway to greater and more glorious victory.  We need only look at the cross to see this truth.  You may have suffered what seemed like agonizing defeats, but God looks down on you and sees a glorious victory!

Prayer Equals Peace

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow...