My husband and I found ourselves in a situation that was not at all of our own making, but we were swept into it by a business that was supposed to do some repairs for us. The complexity of it was unbelievable. Our friends who heard the story were amazed. We tried to resolve the issue for two months with no success. We went ‘round and ‘round with no progress being made.
I thought about the situation constantly, trying to come up with a way to work it out. It left us in a very difficult position, and I was on an emotional roller coaster ride. One night I read Psalm 102:17. “He [God] will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.” In this situation, we were destitute with no recourse. We were praying, but there seemed to be no Divine intervention. After a few weeks of the turmoil, I realized that I had allowed this seemingly unsolvable injustice to steal my peace. Confusion reigned in its place.
As I was reading my Bible on another occasion, I kept coming across scriptures reminding me that I have a Shepherd Who loves me and will take care of me. I am the sheep of His hand. I could feel the peace of God slowly filtering back into my heart and mind. My emotions began to settle down. Suddenly, I knew everything was okay. Although nothing changed physically, I realized God was doing a wonderful work inside me.
I am sharing this because I know I am not alone in falling into the trap of slipping out of the yoke with Jesus and trying to pull it on my own. I thought just maybe, somebody might find some hope and renewed strength from my story. I felt terrible and guilty when I realized the turmoil I had allowed to come into my spirit. But now I feel loved and cared for by my heavenly Father on a deeper level, because God zeroed in on the spiritual destitution of my heart instead of the earthly trial that will pass. I was expecting a miracle to turn my situation around, but God was focusing on the eternal. I cannot fully put into words what God has accomplished in me because it is of a spiritual nature. But there are lessons of patience, endurance and trust to be learned in our trials.
Believe me, there is nothing, and I mean nothing, worth losing the peace of God in our lives. Proving that we are right, getting vengeance, or gaining some material prize is not worth it. Inner peace is worth more than silver and gold. It is the essence of God’s presence. Without His peace, how can we survive? His presence and the peace it brings in the life of a believer should be our most valued possession. And we should guard it jealously. His peace lets us know we are at one with Him. When it fades, we need to examine ourselves and find what has broken our peace. I have begun to see James 1:2-4 in a very different light than I did before. It has settled deep into my spirit.
“Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials.” That’s the way it was for us. We just fell into it with no prior notice. But I wasn’t finding much joy in it. However, when you wake up and realize God is allowing this to do a work in you, it makes a lot more sense and even can be joyful. It may not be the ‘jump up and spin around’ kind of joyful, but rather the ‘calm delight’ kind of joyful. It is one thing to rejoice when we win a victory in the natural. But when we have to submit to an injustice and overcome the enemy of our souls rather than win in the natural, it can be misunderstood as failure. Our trials are not useless. And they are not for the advancement of our personal goals. They are allowed so they will position us to submit to the will of God and to bring Him glory; whether or not we overcome in the natural.
What is there to be joyful for? The next verse spells it out for us. “Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace].” Oftentimes trials will show us an area in which we are destitute in spirit. God is faithful to help us recover, and we can rejoice in that. I know that other trials will come, but this is just another example of God’s kindness and care of me that I can look back on and remember during the next trial. It is a stepping stone on my path to spiritual maturity. I can have a stronger faith that God gives peace in any storm. Even one that is still raging. We need to hold to Jesus and let Him do the work. Don’t fight Him or the battle. It is for our good or He would not have allowed it.
“And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking nothing.” Does that say to let patience have her perfect work so that we can get vengeance for every personal injustice and prove how right we are? Of course not!! The work is being done inside us, so work with it instead of against it. Jesus never let people, things or circumstances perturb Him. He kept His unity with the Father, and He lived in that peace (being set at one with the Father) on a day by day basis.
If you think about it, Jesus didn’t feel the need to straighten out every unkind word, lie, accusation or wrong done against Him. He just spoke the truth and did the will of the Father. The disciples didn’t always win the worldly battles either, because those are not the important battles. They don’t decide eternity. But the disciples did win the spiritual battle to spread the gospel of the kingdom. That is why we have the gospel today, and it is still being spread.
When we plan our strategies to get revenge and gain victories over people who treat us unjustly, we hurt ourselves by taking on the spirit of this world instead of being at one with the Father. Focus on the spiritual work God wants to do, and leave the rest in His hands. When something comes against us, our natural instinct is to jump into action to make it right. But we need to be on guard and ask God to lead us. Handle each situation the way Jesus tells us in His Word.
Choose your battles. Those that destroy or even interrupt our peace are not worth it. When in the battle, simply do what God says to do. He told one group facing a battle to march around the city walls. He told another to send singers ahead in the march toward the enemy. He told another group to bring the number from 32,000 down to 300, then use trumpets, pitchers and lamps. They all won their battles. Why? They stayed connected to God instead of running in human strength and man’s wisdom. Whatever God directs you to do, do it. Stay with Him in the battle. Don’t let Satan deceive you by making you think “this is just a small battle; I can handle it on my own.” Don’t retreat from the kingdom of God to fight on Satan’s turf. That is certain defeat. But with God, we have certain victory.
“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Not this corrupted world, but the kingdom. Not the temporary, but the eternal. Not the carnal, but the spiritual. Sometimes we misunderstand just like the disciples did before Jesus died and was resurrected. They expected Jesus to overcome Rome and set Israel free from their oppressors. Jesus had a much greater mission that would span the annuls of time and reach to you and me and beyond. That is what Jesus had in mind, the kingdom of God coming to us. That is what the Father decreed. And the Father has decreed that those who belong to Him will be conformed to the image of Jesus; even if it means going through temporary trials and tribulations in this world.
Whatever your Rome may be today, look past it into the kingdom of God. Don’t settle for winning against Rome. There is something much greater God is working toward in your life. Submit to His training. Let it have its perfect work, because He is preparing you to rule and reign in His kingdom. He is teaching you to see, understand and discern with your spirit, not just your mind. We can live in the kingdom of God in His peace and power even though we are in this world. The world will not always recognize the battles we are winning. To them it seems we have lost. But we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. When we gain spiritual ground, we have won a greater possession than anything this world has to offer.
As of this writing, the problems caused from the company have not been resolved.
But God is still King of kings and Lord of lords.
And I have His peace in my heart.