Snapshots: Day 68
The Snapshot: “Amalekites came and attacked.” (Ex 17:8) We need to remember that the path the Lord leads us down, is always a path through this fallen world. It’s not necessarily that He caused this obstacle (though He may have done) but more likely it’s just how stuff works in this broken, defective and dysfunctional world because of the presence of sin. So yes, there almost certainly will be opposition somewhere along the way (more gentle than outright persecution – promised Jesus’ followers – Jn 15:20) but two things to remember: first, He is still with us and is for us, and second, His grace is available to us to enable us to cope graciously (turn the other cheek and pray – Mt 5:39,44) Remember, Jesus way is not the world’s way.
Further Consideration: So we considered in the previous study that in the Christian life not everything goes as we might expect, because it is God who is working out His perfect will and, as that involves it, it means Him working in and through me to change me.
But we’ve also just observed that He does this in the midst of – and often using – this fallen world and sometimes it also includes giving the enemy leeway to act against us. Now that is not because He wants to bring us down and destroy us; it is so that we learn more fully who we are and what are the resources available to us, and how to use them.
Imagine a game of football or rugby and your team is told there will not be any opposition. Initially you can’t believe it but then as you come to play you realize all that is left is running up and down the field and there is no joy in that; in fact it soon becomes boring. Your coach says he wants you to learn something so you will do this for a week. At the end of the week you are good at running but no good at anything else. The fact that there was no opposition meant you didn’t get stronger, tougher, smarter, you didn’t practice the different plays. You didn’t improve as players.
No, we may wish we never encountered opposition but the truth is that we grow stronger through it. Do you know what are the most spiritually vibrant churches in the world? The ones suffering persecution. When Israel failed to clean out Canaan, the Lord said he would not drive those people out but “They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands.” (Jud 3:4) If we will not deal with inhabitants of our ‘old life’, the Lord will simply use those things to discipline us, for they will cause us trouble. Get rid of them or expect further trouble from them. His grace is there to enable you to do that and this is His express will for you.