Multitudes of Christians get up each morning only to face indescribable problems - physical pain, emotional suffering, financial struggles. Many are so barraged by trouble after trouble, they worry, This is all too much for me to handle. My problems are about to defeat me! I dont have the strength to fight these things anymore. How will I ever make it?
Our ministry has received many letters from saints who endure extremely difficult circumstances daily. Recently, my wife and I spent a day reading through some of these letters:
- One godly woman wrote: Ive been married for over thirty-five years and Im a grandmother. But now my family is being destroyed by my adulterous husband. He has been Spirit-filled and used often by the Lord. But now he is an embittered womanizer, full of lust late in life. Please pray for me. He has driven all love out of me, and Im so unhappy.
A cloud of suffering has gathered over this womans life. She still loves her husband and wants him to come home - but he has drained her of all emotions. She often wonders, Oh, God, this is about to destroy me. I dont think I can endure any more. How can I keep going?
- Another dear woman wrote: Ive lived with a debilitating intestinal problem for over seven years. My husband is also in bad health. Our finances are in awful shape, although we never spend money on frivolous things. And now my eighty-nine-year-old father is dying of cancer. We ask you to pray for us.
Every day this woman has to face a dying father, a sick husband, overwhelming physical pain and financial nightmares. I wonder how often shes cried out, Lord, these enemies are too strong for me. How can a weak, helpless person like me go on? How are we going to make it?
- A pastor from Tennessee wrote: Last July I underwent radical surgery on my prostate, which was full of cancer. The doctors also removed the muscles that control my continence. They believe they got all the cancer, but they cant be certain. Now I also have diabetes and a stomach ulcer. Would you please pray for me?
What giant enemies this man faces each day! He lives in terror that some of his cancer may remain. And he has to endure the pain of diabetes and an ulcerated stomach. I wonder how often he asks, How can I continue facing this? How will I ever make it?
- An elderly sister in the Lord wrote: Ill be eighty-one in March, and I have arthritis and sugar diabetes. My back and legs are weak, and I can hardly walk. Because I live by myself, I have to do my own housework. I don t have much money or any living relatives. Please pray for me.
I picture this pain-ridden woman laboring each morning just to get up, struggling to cook meals, straining to keep up her house - all with no one to help. She must wonder at times, How am I going to make it through another day? What will happen to me on the mornings when I cant get out of bed?
- Another dear sister wrote: I just received word my husband has terminal cancer in his esophagus. He has been a godly husband and a wonderful father to my fourteen-year-old son. Pray that Ill remain strong, and that my faith will increase through this.
Like so many others who have written us, this poor woman is crying out for the strength to face a giant difficulty each day.
- We received a letter from a woman in Texas, who told us of a tragedy wed already learned about in the national news. This dear sister wrote:
Please pray for us. We endured a tragic event on October 4th that devastated our lives. Our seventeen-year-old son, Sean, had a compound fracture in his leg while playing in a high-school football game. The bone protruded the skin and went into the ground. This caused immediate shock to his body, and grass and dirt entered his leg.
The paramedics put the bone back in, but after Sean got to the hospital, it was all downhill. The doctor only came in for brief, two-minute visits, even though he saw our son vomiting and coughing up blood and his body jerking. Sean had a bad infection and excruciating headaches, and blood was seeping through his cast.
The doctor did absolutely nothing. He said the blood Sean was coughing up was from irritated capillaries caused by the tube down his throat. And he said the headache was only a sinus problem.
The next day, our son died. It devastated us. We later were told that if Sean had only been given blood thinner, he would have survived.
My husband is a licensed minister with the Assemblies of God, and hes had to resign from the church. He needs time to heal, as I do. Thank you for praying for us.
Here is a dedicated servant of God and his wife who wake up each morning with the terrible pain that their beloved son is no longer with them. Each day is filled with suffeirng, and they cant seem to pull out of their despair. They must think at times, Lord, this is too much for us to face. How will we ever survive?
Never in my lifetime have I heard of such troubles, suffering and pain among Christians - marriage struggles, financial problems, physical trials, unending grief. People are asking, How am I going to make it? All these enemies are too powerful for me. Im weak, helpless, unable to do anything about them. Lord, how can I ever get through this?
The truth is, none of these terrible things has surprised God. He has foreseen every awful thing that would ever happen to humankind, including every crisis and problem we face today. And the Bible tells us God wants to show us how to face them all.
The Lord spoke to Moses two words of hope that are also intended for us today. If well simply do as he instructs, we will not only make it through our trials, but well find the Lord faithful in fulfilling his promises to us:
1. God Commands Us Not To Fear
Any of Our Enemies.
Thou shalt not be afraid of them... (Deuteronomy 7:18). For Israel, them represented the massive, well-armed heathen nations they faced in the promised land. For us today, them represents every problem, trouble and overwhelming difficulty we face in life.
Why are we not to fear, you ask? God says so! No other explanation is needed. God is all powerful, all sufficient - and hes aware of the satanic strongholds we face. He knows every snare, trial and temptation that will ever be thrown at us. And he commands us, You shall not fear any of them!
God gave this command to Abraham. Here was a man living in a strange country, surrounded by powerful kings, not knowing where he would end up.
Yet Gods first word to him was, Fear not! ...the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward (Genesis 15:1).
The meaning of this last phrase is, I will be a wall around you, your protector, your defense. In essence, God was telling Abraham, Youre going to face difficulties. But I will protect you through them all. Abraham responded by believing Gods word to him: He believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness (verse 6).
This same word came to Abrahams son, Isaac. He also lived in a hostile environment, surrounded by Philistines who hated him, harassed him and wanted him off their land. Scripture says every time Isaac dug a well for a supply of water, the Philistines filled them back up: ...the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth (26:15).
Everywhere Isaac went, he had the same problem. He even called one well Esek, which means contention. Apparently, Isaac felt nothing but contention in his life. He must have thought, How will I ever feed my family and water my flocks? And how can I raise my children without fear, when the Philistines could plunder us at any time, with no problem? God, why have you planted me here? How can I ever make it?
As this cloud of doubt formed over Isaac, God gave him the same word he gave Abraham: ...I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abrahams sake (verse 24).
Today, like Isaac, we are children of Abraham. And God makes the same promise to us he did to Abraham and his offspring: If ye be Christs, then are ye Abrahams seed, and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:29).
We serve the same God who was a shield to Abraham. And he is with us just as mightily!
Our heavenly father sees every step of our lives. And in spite of all our crises and difficulties, he commands us again and again in scripture: Fear not! We are not to believe that our problems will cast us down and destroy us - because were to know that he is our shield.
Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! And thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places (Deuteronomy 33:29). God is telling us, Its a lie that I have forsaken you! Its a lie that Im mad at you and have left you to fend for yourself against your enemies. Those are all lies of Satan!
I Want to Address All
Christians Who Struggle
With a Besetting Sin.
Do you wake up every day in anguish over a besetting lust or habit? Do you live in torment, thinking, This awful thing is still alive in me?
God knows all about the sin remaining in your heart. And he knows how you hate it and have wept over it. Now he wants you to hear this word: Fear not! I am your shield, your protector, your defense, your sword of holiness against all enemies. I know the way out of temptation for you. And I will teach you to do battle!
David knew this. Thats why he could say, I will fear no evil... (Psalm 23:4). He realized Satan would get the victory if he could just convince the king to be afraid.
Beloved, thats just the way the enemy works against you. He wants you to be afraid of your sin - afraid youll never be delivered, never be set free.
But God says to all grieving, hurting saints: Fear not! I see and know all your suffering. And I will not permit Satan to destroy you!
You may ask, But what am I to do? How can I have the Lords peace and rest in all this?
The answer is found in Gods word to Moses and Israel. With a sea before them, an enemy behind them and no place for them to turn, God commanded them: ...Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you today...The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace (Exodus 14:13-14).
What does this last phrase mean - hold your peace? It means no more worrying, no more trying to figure everything out - and instead trusting God to make a way for you. Thats when he gives you his word of direction, as he gave Israel: ...go forward (verse 15).
Joshua also faced impossible enemies. He and his army had to march all night to Gibeon, where they faced a massive military machine of five confederated kings. As Joshua looked down at the battlefield, he saw the valley filled with mighty chariots and well-trained infantrymen. Yet all he had was a weary band of unskilled troops.
In that moment, a cloud of despair must have gathered over Joshua. He probably thought, Lord, we only barely made it here - and now we have to fight this strong enemy. Please, tell me - what are we going to do?
Scripture says: The Lord said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee (Joshua 10:8).
God pronounced victory even before Joshua went into battle. He said, The victory is already won! Not one of these enemy soldiers will be left standing after the battle. Now, go and fight, knowing I have promised you the victory!
That is the message of the cross! The victory has already been won for us.
No matter what crisis we face, what powerful difficulties lay ahead of us, our victory has been assured: In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us (Romans 8:37).
Does this mean were to do nothing - that were supposed to stand by and expect God to send an angel to slay all our enemies? No - never! Even though God has proclaimed our victory, he will not do our part for us.
We still have to pick up a sword to fight the enemy. The difference is, were to do it believing God has promised to empower us: Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).
The Holy Spirit responds to our faith. When we call on him, he comes upon us with supernatural power to mortify the deeds of the flesh. Our part is faith - and then walking in the belief that Gods Spirit will resist the power of evil coming against us.
2. God Commands Us to
Remember How He Defeated
All Our Enemies In the Past.
Moses instructed Israel, Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the Lord thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt...the signs, the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the Lord thy God brought thee out: so shall the Lord thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid (Deuteronomy 7:18-19).
What a powerful message! Moses was reminding the Israelites, No matter what enemies you face, God has promised you victory over them all. He delivered your fathers from Pharaoh, and he will do the same for you today!
...remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life (16:3). Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt... (verse 12).
Moses cry to the people was, Remember the past! If you think youre having a difficult time here in the wilderness, think about all the terrors you faced in Egypt. Dont forget what life was like when you were all slaves. And remember everything God did to deliver you - to save you and sanctify you from it all!
The prophet Isaiah also spoke Gods word to a people who were full of fear. This was at a time when Israel was convinced God had forsaken them. They shook in fear of what their enemies might do to them. But Isaiah assured them:
...who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? And where is the fury of the oppressor? (Isaiah 51:12-13).
God said through the prophet, The reason youre afraid is because youve forgotten who I am. Youre looking only at your troubles, rather than on my might and ability to deliver you. Youve forgotten that my hand is still on your life!
You may have trouble remembering Gods miracles in your life. You may think, My life has been one long, hard nightmare. I simply havent had much to rejoice in. How can I remember Gods miracles when I havent experienced them?
You must understand - our experiences can inspire faith, but they arent meant to be the foundation of our faith. Thats why Gods word always points us toward what Jesus has done. Were to remember his victory on the cross for us, and to cling to it by faith. He alone empowers us to victory, by his Spirit.
Jesus Said, Im Going Back to My Father -
But I Wont Leave You as Orphans.
Christ told his disciples, Now I go my way to him that sent me...I will not leave you comfortless... (John 16:5, 14:1). The Greek word for comfortless here is orphans - meaning, bereaved, fatherless.
At times you may feel as the disciples later did - that youre all alone, and that God isnt at work for you. You see no evidence of his care. And Satan lies to you that Gods Spirit has left you for a season.
But there is one incredible miracle you cannot forget. It is Jesus promise to all of his followers: I will not leave you as an orphan. I paid a price for you - and youre mine!
No matter what youre going through, your heavenly father has never once abandoned any thought of you - and he never will. Listen to his eternal, unbreakable promise:
Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me (Isaiah 49:14-16).
This passage tells us, Your need for protection is always before my eyes. Theres never a moment when Im unconcerned about keeping my supernatural walls secure around you. My protective hedge is always there!
Ive known some mothers - including pastors wives - who have abandoned their children. Just a few weeks ago a pastor wrote to us: Ive been married for twenty-five years, but my wife recently left me for some man she met through the Internet. She just walked out on our children and me. I still love her, and I want her to come home, but she wont. I hurt so badly right now, I cant sleep. I dont know how Im going to make it.
God answers this man, Even your beloved wife may abandon you - but I never will. My walls around you will always be secure!
Our ministry receives many letters from women who have lived with alcoholic husbands for decades. As I read of their despair, I ask, Lord, why do these faithful women have to suffer for so long, with no sign of hope?
I will never understand why my wife has had to go through so much physical suffering. Shes had twenty-eight operations, six of them for cancer - over forty years of awful pain. No minister or theologian has ever been able to explain to me why she continues to suffer this way.
Yet, it doesnt matter what any of us has to go through, or how long we have to endure it. One thing is true above all:
Gods Grace Is Sufficient
To Keep Us in All Things!
The apostle Paul cried out to God, Lord, please deliver me from this thorn in my flesh! But the Lord answered him, ...My grace is sufficient for thee... (2 Corinthians 12:9). God told his servant, Paul, youre going to have to live with this thorn. But in the midst of your pain, Ill give you all the grace you need. I have an endless supply for you!
The Lord wants us to know that his grace is stronger than any deliverance he might bring to our circumstances. Why? His grace contains the full revelation of who he is! Simply put, Gods grace is Jesus Christ fully revealed - in all holiness, yet with a tender, compassionate heart.
Our heavenly father sees every bit of our suffering. And he makes these wonderful promises to us:
- The salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble (Psalm 37:39).
- ...he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me (Hebrews 13:5-6).
- Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
- Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contendeth with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.
- For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.... When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them (Isaiah 41:10-13, 17).
You can make it through any situation, crisis or disaster - all by the grace of Jesus Christ. No matter what comes your way, he has more than sufficient grace and Holy Ghost comfort for you!
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This data file is the sole property of World Challenge. It may not be altered or edited in any way. It may be reproduced only in its entirety for circulation as "freeware," without charge. All reproductions of this data file must contain the copyright notice [i.e., "Copyright © 1999 by World Challenge"]. This data file may not be used without the permission World Challenge for resale or the enhancement of any other product sold. This includes all of its content with the exception of a few brief quotations. Please give the following source credit: Copyright © 1999 by World Challenge, Lindale, Texas, USA.
This material is solely for personal use and is not to be posted publicly on other web pages. The Lorain County Free-Net Chapel holds exclusive rights from World Challenge, Inc. to publicly post these messages on its web page. You are free to download, copy, print and distribute this material, so long as you do not post it on a different Internet site. You may, however, link this site to reference these messages.
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