“Praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord” (Psalm 40:3).
When people see the strength of God in you as you walk through the same difficulties they do, they will stand back in awe and think, “Surely there must be a God! We are walking through the same waters, yet what is causing me to drown seems to be replenishing him. He has an inner strength I don’t have.” Paul said it this way: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
Paul was never one to hide the fact that there would be trials in the Christian life. Later in that passage of Scripture he goes on to say, “We do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia” (1:8). Paul was reminding us that we are going to go through trials, but God is going to comfort us. And with the comfort we receive, we are going to be able to comfort others who find themselves in sorrow and confusion.
I believe many Christians will need to experience the comfort of the Lord in the coming days. That is where we must not abandon our brothers and sisters in Christ but, rather, stand alongside them. Many have embraced teachings from preachers who have convinced them that coming to Jesus means they will be exempt from all suffering and trials. Without a clear understanding of what the Christian walk is about, they become open game for the enemy. He comes in and casts doubt upon the faithfulness of God and his promises, causing discouragement to set in.
The world will see your example but you also may find a fellow believer whose faith is shaken by hardships. You can open the Scriptures and offer support. “Look, my friend, you and I serve the same Jesus, so let’s walk together.” The Holy Spirit will enable you to be an encouraging voice and an example of what it means to walk in victory and stability during difficult times.
Carter Conlon joined the pastoral staff of Times Square Church in 1994 at the invitation of the founding pastor, David Wilkerson, and was appointed Senior Pastor in 2001.
“Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:13).
The night of Passover found Jewish families shut up in their dwellings, waiting to leave Egypt. The blood of an unblemished lamb had been sprinkled on the doorposts of every home, according to the Lord’s command. They were promised, “The Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you” (12:23). Some families may have been apprehensive, while others were rejoicing, but they were equally safe and secure under the blood.
The deliverance of Israel from Egypt is a clear type of our deliverance from sin and its slavery. “Now all these thing happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). “For our admonition” means that we can see in their struggles a shadow of our present battles with self and sin. Their Egypt is our ungodly world.
The Israelites were delivered from Egypt’s power by the mighty hand of God. “For with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt” (Exodus 13:9). Just as the blood removed Israel from judgment, so the blood of Jesus secures us and his mighty hand breaks the power of sin in us. Yes, sin still dwells but it does not rule! You have been forgiven, but you also have access to the power to overcome the flesh. This is such an incredibly encouraging word in these days of disillusionment.
Christ is coming for those who are waiting for him, “to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). What a rare privilege to be among those adorned as a bride, washed in the blood and anticipating his appearing!
Jabbok, the place where Jacob wrestled with God and made his total surrender, exemplifies the place where Christians fight their private wars. There are no counselors, no friends, no helpers — just you and God. At Jabbok Jacob cast down his last idol and won his greatest victory. And there he received his new character and his new name — Israel.
“And [Jacob] arose that night … and crossed over the ford of Jabbok” (Genesis 32:22). Jabbok means “a place of passing over” but it also stands for struggle; to empty and pour out. The glorious truth revealed in this place has everything to do with us today. It is where God’s people discover the secret of power over every besetting sin. It represents a life-and-death crisis, one that leads to absolute surrender.
We are familiar with two crossings — the Red Sea and the Jordan River. Crossing the Red Sea represents a new start, coming out of the world, “getting saved.” Crossing the Jordan represents a commitment to go on with the Lord, reading the Word, witnessing, growing in Christ, and receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
But there is more — a third crossing, a crossing into a place of true rest in God. There can be no glorious victory over self and sin until you go to your personal Jabbok. Multitudes of Spirit-filled, Spirit-led believers have never known the true rest of God because of secret sin or unbelief. God said of Israel, “They could not enter in because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:19).
Our Lord wants to change us into new people with pure hearts and clean hands. Our personal Jabbok is the place where the Lord hears our cries of desperation and touches us, just as he touched Jacob. During Jacob’s wrestling with the Lord, his thigh was put out of joint and the Lord purposely weakened him, but he came through in glorious victory. The same may be true with you. He may cripple your human efforts and cause you to hobble away, humbled and crippled. But your surrender will bring you into victory, totally dependent on your Deliverer.
Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus even though he knew he would soon raise him to life again. After all, he had come to Bethany expressly for this purpose. “Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, ‘See how He loved him!’ And some of them said, ‘Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?’ Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb” (John 11:35-38).
While Jesus keenly felt the grief of his dear friends Mary and Martha over the death of their brother, his deeper grief was caused by the unbelief of the people who questioned why he had not prevented Lazarus’ death. “Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?’” (11:40).
Just as in Jesus’ day, the heart of God is broken today when Christians question his love for them. How could a God of love not weep when his own children doubt his very nature?
Christians grieve the Lord in matters much worse than those during his time on earth. We stand on a higher mountain and see more then they could ever see. We have a completed Bible with a full and detailed record of God’s trustworthiness. We have the written testimonies of centuries of Christians, generation after generation of godly fathers who have passed down to us unshakable proofs of God’s love. We also have countless personal experiences that testify to God’s tender affection for us.
God reveals his heart for his people in his Word:
Dearly beloved, God’s heart is full of mercy and forgiveness, and his Word is filled with promises of blessing. He declares his love for you over and over again, and he is just waiting to hear from you. Open your heart to him today and experience all that he has for you.
God is not mocking his children when he promises, “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). And he is not lying when he promises, “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry … The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles” (Psalm 34:15, 17).
When we cry out to God for mercy and help, all heaven goes into motion on our behalf. It would be an incredible sight for our human eyes should the Lord let us see into the spiritual world; to behold the good things he is preparing for those who call on him and trust him.
Yet, when we are overwhelmed by circumstances beyond our control, we too often turn aside from our true Source of peace and victory. We rush to unburden our hearts to friends, pastors, counselors, and family members, searching everywhere for sympathetic advice instead of fleeing to the secret closet of prayer.
Because we do not have patience; because we live and act according to our feelings; because our flesh cannot endure delays; because we can't see visible evidence of the secret workings of God—we do like the Israelites and turn away from Him to make things happen to please our flesh.
Oh, the matchless grace of God - to choose the most unworthy, the weakest of them all—to be His instruments. God’s promises to us are great and precious: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
God is still on the throne waiting for you to call on his name, so do not ignore the majesty and faithfulness of the loving Father. The Word tells us where the victory lies, so believe and take hold of it.