Hannah Keeley is our wonderful Oswald guest blogger this week.
VERSE: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
OSWALD: An average view of the Christian life is that it means deliverance from trouble. It is deliverance in trouble, which is very different. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High . . . there shall no evil befall thee” – no plague can come nigh the place where you are at one with God.
If you are a child of God, there certainly will be troubles to meet, but Jesus says do not be surprised when they come. “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world, there is nothing for you to fear.” Men who before they were saved would scorn to talk about troubles, often become “fushionless” after being born again because they have a wrong idea of a saint.
God does not give us overcoming life: He gives us life as we overcome. The strain is the strength. If there is no strain, there is no strength. Are you asking God to give you life and liberty and joy? He cannot, unless you will accept the strain. Immediately you face the strain, you will get the strength. Overcome your own timidity and take the step, and God will give you to eat of the tree of life and you will get nourishment. If you spend yourself out physically, you become exhausted; but spend yourself spiritually, and you get more strength. God never gives strength for to-morrow, or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the minute. The temptation is to face difficulties from a common-sense standpoint. The saint is hilarious when he is crushed with difficulties because the thing is so ludicrously impossible to anyone but God.
I love how Oswald puts it: “An average view of the Christian life is that it means deliverance from trouble. It is deliverance in trouble, which is very different.” One thing is certain, you and I were not created to be average. We are created by an abundant, all-powerful God who never does anything “average.” We were created to soar, not to crawl. We were meant to be victors, not victims. We have that water-walking, mountain-moving power within us, so why on earth would we ever be content to just be average? The average person gripes and complains and begs for God to come to the rescue from a situation. The overcomer knows that God is already at work, growing us in ways we could never imagine. Sure, none of us want to go through difficult times. If it were up to us, we would probably all be content with a comfy sofa, a remote control, and some chocolate ice cream. But God didn’t put us here to be comfortable. He put us here to change the world. God knows what He designed us to do, and it’s not to stay comfortable.
Just like that lump of coal would never become a diamond until it is put under pressure, God has to pressure cook us all to be the world changers He created us to be. He never said it would be easy, but He did promise He would give us the strength to persevere. But here’s the deal, His strength is only activated when we quit cowering in the corner and take a step forward. And as soon as we take that step, His strength meets us right where we are. It’s not about tomorrow or yesterday or next month when the bills are due. It’s about right now, this very moment. Instead of running in fear, understand that God has already overcome this world. It is powerless to hurt you.
I can honestly say that it was only in the strain that I truly realized the “big-ness” of God. He became more than the cross I wore around my neck or the bumper sticker on my car. He became my all-in-all. That’s when we know God best, when we have nothing else to plant our feet on except Him.
What are you going through today that is growing you out of your comfort zone? Are you still clinging to what you know in your head, or Who you know in your heart?
Hannah Keeley is the producer and host of the national television series, “Hannah, Help Me!,” author of “Hannah Keeley’s Total Mom Makeover” (Little, Brown and Company, 2007), founder of the mom website, “www.hannahkeeley.com,” and the mother of seven rambunctious kiddos!