Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.
The Bible tells us that Jacob received an incredible revelation through a face-to-face encounter with God: “Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” (Genesis 32:30, NKJV). What was the circumstance surrounding this revelation? It was the lowest, scariest point in Jacob’s life. At the time, Jacob was caught between two powerful forces: his angry father-in-law, Laban, and his estranged brother, Esau.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
Several studies in sociology and other educational sciences demonstrate that an overprotected child who has been spared everything, having known only victories, will find himself at a disadvantage, even perhaps in serious danger when the great trials of life hit him or her.
It’s natural to want to shelter our children, but one of the most extraordinary skills that we are called to develop for our families is a healthy, biblical view of how to go through trials.
In 1989 I traveled to eastern Canada, conducting evangelistic meetings and testifying of the goodness of God in various churches that were in need of encouragement. Now when you return home from any season of traveling, you usually expect to find some personal rest and comfort. The last thing you expect to find is your house burned to the ground.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
In our times of trial and temptation, Satan comes to us bringing lies: “You’re surrounded now and there is no way out. You’re a failure, otherwise you wouldn’t be going through this. There’s something wrong with you and God is sorely displeased.”
In the midst of his trial, Hezekiah acknowledged his helplessness. The king realized he had no strength to stop the voices raging at him, voices of discouragement, threats and lies. He knew he couldn’t deliver himself from the battle, so he sought the Lord for help. And God answered by sending the prophet Isaiah to Hezekiah.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm” (Ephesians 6:13, ESV).
It was the apostle Paul who penned those words to exhort the believers in Ephesus. Another translation says it this way: “Then after the battle you will still be standing firm” (NLT). Of course, there would not be much weight to Paul’s words had he himself not gone through the fire and ultimately been able to stand.
How did the Holy Ghost bring comfort to Paul during his downcast times? The apostle himself tells us: “Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus” (2 Corinthians 7:6). Titus arrived in Macedonia with a refreshing spirit, and suddenly Paul’s heart was lifted. As the two men fellowshipped, joy flooded through Paul’s body, mind and spirit, and the apostle wrote, “I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation” (7:4). Paul was declaring, “I still face problems, but the Lord has given me what I need for the battle. He has refreshed me through Titus.”