What it doesn’t mean when we encounter struggles

“Satan does not care when Christians pursue their own visions and their own plans, but when the Spirit of God is in operation, putting the pieces together for a strategic conquest of souls for God’s glory, Satan is worried and all kinds of problems and troubles break out.”

This quote came from a message given by someone I trust, and it got me to thinking about a few things. 

1) This is not how I thought for many years. I and other Christians would often talk as if struggle and trouble was a sign that we might not be in God’s will, but if everything was going smoothly, then God was blessing and we were where we were supposed to be. 

2) But I’m realizing that what I used to think (#1) isn’t scriptural. The Bible is full of examples where God purposefully led people right into struggles and troubles. He led the Israelites directly to the place where they were cornered by the Red Sea and the Egyptian army! Joseph went through tons of difficulty and he later testified that this was God’s plan for his life. Paul was beaten and stoned and shipwrecked and more, yet we don’t look at his story and claim that this proved he wasn’t following God’s will for his life. 

If we look at the examples given in how God spoke and dealt with the Israelites when they were on the way to their Promised Land, we see that God purposefully led them (by a cloud and by fire) into impossible circumstances over and over and over again.  And then He showed His power and delivered them. 

But what He wanted from them in these circumstances was trust. He repeatedly reprimanded when they chose NOT to trust Him, even though He had proven His power to deliver and provide over and over again.

They continued to choose to complain and doubt Him, rather than choosing to trust that where He led, He would provide!

For many of them, this choice that they made kept them out of their Promised Land!  For those who learned to trust, they entered their Promised Land… and walked right into more battles! 

I think this is a good reminder to me, to trust God’s leading and look for His provision in the midst of struggles, rather that looking at the struggles themselves and thinking something is “wrong” because I am going through them.

Romans 5:3-5 … We also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

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