Sunday, March 14, 2010

Keeping God in the Picture (church bulletin cover)

There are times when personal issues come up in our lives that seem intimidatingly strong.  Impregnable.  Impossible to overcome.  They can leave us feeling like a little soldier who's standing all alone and staring way, way up at a great stone wall that's vastly higher than us, and so thick that it may as well be a mountain that we're banging on. It can be a hopeless feeling.

But look at what the Lord God did for the children of Israel: "And we took all his cities at that time... Sixty cities... All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates and bars" (Deuteronomy 3:4-5).  These were the same sort of cities that the ten spies had described when they discouraged the children of Israel from entering the Promised Land forty years earlier -- cities that were "fortified and very large" (Numbers 13:28).  It's not that the spies hadn't described those cities accurately.  It's just that their descriptions led the people to the wrong conclusions. Those cities were strong.  "Greater and mightier than yourselves" (Deut. 9:1).  Too big and strong for Israel to handle.  But if that's all we see, we're living like a people with no God.  Where is God in it all?

Deuteronomy 3:22 says, "You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you."  God completes the picture, for He is always with us.  So as we stare up at the cold stone walls of the most challenging personal issues we're facing -- whether they be fears or finances, illness or estrangement -- we must not allow ourselves to be intimidated.  "Be strong and courageous." was what God told Joshua, "for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9).  There is Someone standing with us who dwarfs the granite walls that dwarf us, and He can crush them with a word from His mouth.  But God invites us to be a part of the battle, for God wants us to grow in faith as we learn to fight the fight of faith.  Just as when Israel later defeated five Amorite kings in a single battle, Joshua said to the children of Israel, "Do not be afraid or dismayed!  Be strong and courageous, for thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight" (Joshua 10:25).

So like the children of Israel, we will wage these battles together, encouraged that the Lord is fighting for us!  And we will see many walls come tumbling down.

© 2010 by Ken Peters

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great word! I have found that, in addition to this, God will sometimes intentionally put us in these situations, where we find ourselves not only as the lonely soldier facing a giant wall, but with another giant wall behind our backs, cornering us. It's in this moment we NEED God to follow through on his word, or we're finished. I know for myself, I've definitely been put there so I can learn to truly rely on God (not that I do this well by any means). The feeling I have had in hindsight of having walked this journey, and the strengthening of one's relationship with God that comes with it is truly one of the most wonderful feelings in the world.

Thanks for posting this! It truly is encouraging, and one of the greatest reminders anyone can have, and that we need constantly, even if we think it becomes cliche.