March 10, 2014 - Serious Struggles
I am often reminded of the presence and power of God. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9,

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

Girl seeking, Troubled girl, abandoned girl, reflections

As Gwen and I traveled on our journey we experienced these, beginning with the pressure from every direction. In the chaos and uncertainty, we found it difficult to gain our bearings. But it didn’t crush us–we weren’t rendered useless. God had a better plan.

We didn’t understand why Gwen, a dear child of God, should suffer. We were perplexed at why God would allow it. Uncertainties led us to question God, but God did not abandon us or give us a spirit of despair. He nurtured and encouraged us by providing hundreds of people to petition Him on Gwen’s behalf. Contrary to being tired of hearing about her needs, God awakened fellow Christians, many we didn’t even know, to wake up and pray.

When we felt the piling on of one problem after another with barely a chance to catch our breath, or received news we didn’t want to hear, or were told that all hope was gone—we felt persecuted. That lie from Satan said our Lord was not able or loving enough to care about us.

Psalm 23 has given me hope and courage many times during the course of battle. Verse 4 says:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

God promised to remain with us through all forms of adversity—not just send support, but to be with us himself. He did exactly that. In Psalm 91 Verses 14–16, we read:

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

I cannot feel abandoned by God regardless of Satan’s accusations. God assures me of His deep and intimate involvement in my life at all times. Satan is a liar—we are not abandoned, and Satan cannot steal us away from our Father. That’s God’s promise in John 10:29:

“My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

In the end of 2 Corinthians 4:9, “struck down” indicates that we have been overtaken by the enemy to the point of being attacked and knocked down with a powerful blow, but not a fatal one. We are able to rise up again in His power, because He has not allowed it to destroy us.

2 Corinthians 4:16–18 assures us:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

With God all things are possible, and He can make a way where there seems to be no way. There is no indication in Scripture that pursuing the things of God and walking with Him guarantees that we won’t face difficult times. On the contrary—we are to endure many battles, and they will be difficult to the point of feeling pressed on every side, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down. But if we remain in Him and His Word remains in us, we won’t despair or feel crushed, abandoned, or destroyed.

Above all, God is faithful.