It is during the very difficult times in our lives that our character is tested – and moulded. We are like toothpaste tubes; to get the stuff out, we must be squeezed. It really hurts, but it is necessary if you are to become the soldier that God intended you to be.
And God will not tempt you beyond what you can bear. When all inspiration is diminished, when things really aren’t going your way and every step seems to be uphill, that’s when God comes in and by the power of the Holy Spirit He sets up a standard. For it says in Isaiah 59: “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”
What we must remember on this ludicrously hard journey is that we are the good wheat, and our lives are testament to the fact that this good wheat cannot be overcome. No matter how far we fall, that which God planted deep down in us can never change. The parable of the weeds in Matthew tells us of a man who sowed good seed in his field and then went away. While he was gone his enemy came and sowed tares amongst the wheat, hoping to destroy the value of the crop.
You might have made decisions in your past that seemed to have taken you down the wrong path, giving the enemy a foothold to destroy you and all that you own. You might see yourself as a fallen person, laden with shame, overcome by worry, unable to get out of the mire that you are in. There’s not enough money in the bank and your career hasn’t prospered like you thought it would; there’s a sick child that is suffering so much and yet you are helpless as to know what to do… all these things are the tares. But here is the thing. When the wheat sprouts and the golden heads glint in the sunshine, the tares will be made known for what they are: the failed plan of the enemy.
Remember the sin of David when he committed adultery with Bathsheba. He had acted in a manner completely contrary to the young shepherd boy who had stout-heartedly taken on the philistine enemy, and who had been known as a man ‘after Gods own heart’. He had been overcome by lust and murder, and had slaughtered a man that had little in this life save his small family and a doting wife. Of course, David would have to live with that sin for the rest of his life, and his life with Bathsheba would be a constant reminder of the tares that had once sprung up in his heart. And yet God blessed their union with their son Solomon, who would grow up to become the wisest of men and amongst those of the lineage of Jesus Christ. But David, the man honoured by God, still lived by faith in his creator. In all of the catastrophes that happened in his life (and there were many), his humble and contrite spirit was evident. What God had put down inside him couldn’t be diminished.
I urge you to watch this wonderful sermon by one of my favourite preachers’ - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pO_RBbFmgQ which should encourage you still further if you are really coming up under the attack of the enemy today. It’s not for nothing that you were born at such a time at this, and not for nothing that your journey seems so hard. It is all in God’s plan to make you into a warrior for his Kingdom.
Harry Keir Hughes is a Senior Digital Editor at Premier