There are many things I love and respect about my friend Lisa. But if I had to choose one reason why I want to pursue her friendship in the years to come is that she is a woman who prays and fights with the Word of God in hand. It doesn’t matter if you are having tea in her home, or going on a walk with her, she will always encourage you to trust God, pray to God, and fight the Devil and your flesh with the Word of God.
Thank you, Lisa, for sharing with us today.
He Has You, that Much
by Lisa Leidenfrost
People say “God is so good” especially after an unexpected answer to prayer or when someone is delivered from a trial in a great way. But, what if, after praying hard for deliverance or for a certain answer, that answer goes against what you had wanted, almost in the opposite direction? Now where are you? Can you still say with all your heart “God is so good” and really mean it? Yes, you can, and I can tell you why. It is because God is – period. He doesn’t change. His character remains the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is sure, constant, and does not move with the variables of life. He is someone you can count on over and over and over again.
So, when life gets scary, He is the only safe place to be. But, in the confusion of the unexpected that quickly turns to alarming, and when you are trying to make sense of it all, it is very easy to get derailed. That is why it is important to always go back to what you do know, and to stand there first before you interpret the rest.
So, what do you know about God that doesn’t ever change based upon the truth of His word?
God is good. God loves you (John 17:23). God listens to your prayers. God is open to your cry and answers when you call (Psalm 145:18,19). God is in control of your life. God gave the trial and means good from it God wants to bless you through this. God will walk with you every step of the way and will not forsake you (Hebrews 13:5,6).
These promises, along with many others, can be found in His Word. They are solid and don’t change, therefore you can rely on them. These are the positive things that you can know. But, the Bible also says that you have an enemy against you, the devil, (Eph. 6:12) who will be undermining all the above by telling you lies like: God does not love you. You are all alone and He doesn’t hear, nor will act on your behalf. So therefore, you must scramble to act on your own, or curl up in a ball and give up.
These lies come on the heels of feelings that are caught up in the turmoil of the moment. When it doesn’t feel like the above things are true because bad things are happening to you, that is especially the time you need to stand on what you do know to be true and make the choice to stay there by faith. You stand on God’s promises because they are true. Feelings on the other hand are fickle and change depending on a host of variables. They are not based on anything super solid, which can lead you astray. Hanging onto the truth in the battle is the only thing that can keep you standing in the thick of the fight. When you use the shield of faith (Eph. 6:16) in God’s promises you can quench all the fiery darts (doubts) of the enemy. But you have to be in His word to know what those promises are and to know how to use them. Then, you have to choose to believe them in faith, because doing so gets you back up on the God who is the giver of those promises. Resting on God alone is the surest foundation. It is believing what He is telling you. It is not being fearful because He has your situation in His hand, in spite of the emotion that is right there telling you the opposite.
Do I know what I’m talking about? Yes. We, as missionaries to the Ivory Coast, have just completed a Bible translation in a language that hadn’t been written before. We raised our children in a village, in the tropics, with no electricity or running water. We’ve had various health issues, including typhoid with no doctor nearby. We went through numerous times of unrest, got caught in a war, and had to flee when they were after whites. During the hardest time of the evacuation my health crashed, leaving me a functional shut in for years with an unknown and potentially scary condition. Then on top of all that, later my daughter, who had helped me when I was down, got Multiple Sclerosis, a potentially debilitating disease. Speak about things not going the way we thought they should! Yet God still triumphs through it all. How do I know this? Because He says He does, and I’ve seen it in action. I have learned to see things through His perspective rather than mine.
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37).
“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place” (2 Cor. 2:14).
He triumphs not in spite of the problems but because of them. When we need Him, His strength comes through. He acts, then blesses, and turns hard situations into opportunities that glorify Him and form His character in us. And in doing so, He is advancing His kingdom and getting us fit for eternity with Him.
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Cor. 12:9).
So, how did He come through for us? By God’s grace I was healed of my condition years later, and just recently the translation was finished even after many set backs and hindrances. We thank God for all these things. And even for the things that have not been answered yet, like my daughter Noai’s healing, God has been so faithful in helping my daughter and her husband walk through this, one step at a time. We all can see the hand of God doing marvelous things, teaching them His character, wisdom and glory. These are all things that count and that will not be taken away from them. And, in spite of all their challenges, they are a very joyful family.
No matter what the outcome, God is so good through it all. God’s wild path is always better, over our ideal one, because it is the path to glory, hardships and all. Therefore, when you choose to give your ‘Amen’ to the hard path He has chosen, it will be credited to you as faith because you are believing He will come through in His way. If you wait to give your ‘Amen’ to it after you are in heaven and can finally see that it was the best path, it will no longer be faith. So, you might as well give your ‘Amen’ now and at least be credited with faith.
Yet, if we could choose, we would choose the path that is not so hard. We can wonder, why can’t God just let us live an ideal life and still accomplish His purposes? That would be nice but consider this, when we are weak, when we really need God, that is when we have to rely on God’s strength alone. God’s strength is the ultimate strength, so when we have access to that power and use it, we have access to everything, and therefore are truly strong and are becoming more like Christ. Consider that we often don’t access his strength when we can still stand on our own. So, needing Him, and building up our faith means far more to God than letting us live our life of ease, because without faith it is impossible to please God. (Heb. 11:6) Do we really want a milk toast life with an immature faith that has not been tested in the fire?
Another aspect to consider is that He is up to something good because the trial always goes beyond just yourself. It affects others too in God’s overarching plan. When you go through a trial faithfully, which means looking to Him continuously in all the ups and downs, God is working in your heart and this affects others, giving them courage to walk in faith as well. This process is moving His kingdom forward by building up His people through the great cloud of witnesses that keep accumulating. He has eternity in mind because this earth is not all there is.
Even though we may understand all the above, it is still hard down in the trenches. So how do you handle a great disappointment, or disastrous turn of events? The first thing you do is to run to the one who gave you that trial. If you run away because God is too dangerous, you will be doubly hit, first with the trial and secondly from being cut off from the help you would have gotten. You must daily cry out to Him. And, it is OK to cry, to feel grief, to mourn a loss because we are human. But when we do, we need to do it in faith and not despair, in hope and not in fear, with a joy that rests on God’s character alone and not the situation. So, run to God. Tell Him all about it. Let His love wash over you and let those everlasting arms catch you underneath. He knows and understands, and He wants to take your hand and lead you.
“I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved” (Psalm 16:8).
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10).
Let Him protect you, pick you up when you collapse, comfort you when you cry, carry you when you are weak, and gently lift you up when you are down in a pool of discouragement.
“As a father pities His children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For he knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:13,14).
Yes, He does pick you up, forgives the hopelessness that has engulfed you, then places the sword of the Spirit and the shield of faith back in your hands and teaches you how to fight anew. You are never without help in whatever form you need.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1,2).
God is either who He says He is, or He is not. Therefore, we can get up and fight with hope and above all to stand in confidence. So much so, that you can even go off rejoicing after you have given your burden to Him, because He has you that much.
-You can find the index to the series Faithful Obedience at the bottom of this post.
-The latest in this series: A post by Laurie Ditton on how God has been faithful to her and her husband as they submitted to His will bringing her sick and elderly mom to live with them.