During a recent Sunday School discussion, one of my classmates reminded us that “warring is continuous”. Opposite principles or states such as good and evil, right and wrong, success and failure, love and indifference, or faith and fear are constantly dueling for the top-ranking position within our hearts and minds. However, our lives are seldom all good or all bad – it is typically a continual combination of both. In his popular book, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren likens this phenomenon to the intersecting rails of a train track. Like those rails, we cannot simply extract the difficult or unpleasant parts of our lives. Doing so hinders our ability to move forward.
Sometimes we find ourselves in the midst of unexpected seasons of transition – ones in which God is applying a level of heat and pressure that is not only uncomfortable, but downright discouraging. He allows that fire in order to remove impurities – some of the habits, mindsets, or distractions -that would hinder the ways in which He ultimately plans to use us to bless His kingdom. Zechariah 13:9 says “This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”
The Lord created us which means that He knows us intimately. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Isaiah 42:5 says “This is what God the Lord says— the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it:” Therefore, whether they are initially perceived as positive or negative, the Lord knows exactly which situations to allow or orchestrate to shape us into the person He has called us to be. Isaiah 64:8 says “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
In these difficult, stressful seasons, instead of giving in to a natural inclination to distance ourselves from God – either out of frustration, worry, disappointment, weariness, fear or hurt – we must cling to God more than ever! We must trust in His word and confess that trust on a daily basis. We must release that overwhelming situation to the Lord and hold fast to His promises. Do you know how you can tell that you’re on the verge of a breakthrough? By the increased level of struggle! The more that we feel we are struggling, the closer we are to gaining relief through God’s fulfillment. During those struggles, it is critical to persist in prayer – acknowledging your need for God’s intervention. When you feel that you are simply too devastated to pray, solicit the prayers of those you trust to intercede on your behalf – up to and including Jesus and The Holy Spirit. Did you know that Jesus AND The Holy Spirit serve as our intercessors? According to Romans 8:34 “Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” and Romans 8:36 states “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Even in our darkest hour, we should continue to petition the Lord about our concerns. Colossians 4:12 says “Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.”
The good news is that our heavenly Father is present through every phase of our lives. Deuteronomy 31:8 tells us that “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Finally, we can abide in the knowledge that even the most difficult seasons in our lives are intended to ultimately benefit us as stated in Romans 8:28 which says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
I encourage you to persist in prayer until your breakthrough comes. Then glorify God and share your testimony when your breakthrough transcends from dream to reality. Get ready because your breakthrough is coming!