Much ink has been spilled declaring and defining the time of trial and tribulation that is swiftly approaching and even – in many cases – already here. With your permission I would like to pass over all of our current background context in order to get directly to a point of exhortation that will hopefully encourage you in the Lord and strengthen you for the days to come.
The Holy Spirit has put it on my heart that there are a great number of people all around the world who understand that we are potentially on the precipice of dangerous scenarios that could affect all of us. Of this group, it feels as if many are discouraged and don’t see a way forward. For some the obstacles may be concrete and immediate, and for others it is the darkness of the horizon that is troubling.
So many feel helpless, alone, depressed, powerless, imprisoned, and fearful. Some feel incapable of making an impact even though they want to help change things for the better. Others feel unworthy of having their lives used to advance the Kingdom of God because of their past. Still others feel weak and oppressed by forces that are out of their control and don’t seem to ever let up.
Yet – right on cue – there is a timely Word of God directly for your encouragement.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10
It can seem impossible to rejoice in such hard places and situations, but as we discussed in a recent article, The Freedom Paradox, following the ways of God often entails the exact opposite of what our worldly instinct tells us. To our carnal nature, weakness is weakness and strength is strength. In spiritual terms, however, when we become utterly weak we finally, at long last, have a chance to give up attempting to do things in our own strength. Sometimes it takes a problem that we know we cannot solve, a habit we know we cannot break, or a calamity we know that we cannot endure for us to be truly humbled.
When we acknowledge our total dependence on God we can cry out, press in, and receive a supernatural relief and strength directly from the one who created the universe according to His promises.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Have you been there? Are you there right now? Are you reminded of the sting of your own weakness? Rejoice! You are closer to God and nearer to deliverance that one who has all the strength the world can offer and is far removed from God because of success and pride.
Honesty demands that we admit that we’ve all been there. We’ve all been through moments when we realized we made a mistake, seasons when we know we’re not making the right decisions, or times when we are suddenly aware that we’ve made a mess that we can’t get ourselves out of. The world tells us to grin and bear it, to try again, to persist, and even sometimes screams for us to give up and accept failure.
Yet Jesus still cries out to us and for us – thank God!
He cries out for you to come to the Cross where He paid the price for you. Lay your burdens on Him. Invite Him to be Lord of your life. Cry out to Him for your soul, your salvation, and your eternal life. He can forgive you. He will forgive you. He loves you. He loves you so much more than anyone can explain or demonstrate. Draw near to Him in your time of distress.
He will give you strength. He will give you faith. He will give you joy. He will give you peace. He will give you rest. He will send you the Holy Spirit to empower you to do His will and to glorify His name. Jesus Himself promised that you would do great works and magnify the Lord.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
Perhaps you feel weak and incapable. Perhaps you feel foolish and don’t see a way forward.
You’re in good company.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition.
Peter and John, two of the Apostles, astonished the educated religious rulers when they spoke in the power of the Holy Spirit and testified that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ. A man that had been healed by the power of God stood near as a testimony of the works that Jesus promised His followers would do. Their boldness glorified God and presented a testimony of Jesus that was undeniable even to His fiercest adversaries.
My prayer is that you will press in to God, especially if you feel weak and foolish. God has a plan for your life. In fact, there are some important and incredible things in store for you:
God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.
1 Corinthians 1:27
Be encouraged my Brothers and Sisters in Christ! This is a time to cry out to God, to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and to testify of Jesus with boldness. Let us bring glory to the wondrous name of our God! It’s time once again for the foolish to confound the wise.
If God be for us, who can be against us?