Wednesday, December 31, 2008

BATTLE SMART

Whenever opposition arises, God’s grace thrives in us. Think about what happens to a tree when a great storm beats violently against it. The wind threatens to uproot the tree and carry it away. It breaks off branches and blows away its leaves. It loosens its roots and blows off its buds. And when the storm is over, things look hopeless.

Yet, look closer; the same storm that opened crevices in the earth around the trunk of the tree has helped the roots go deeper. The tree now has access to new, deeper sources of nutrition and water. And it has been purged of all its dead branches. The buds may be gone, but others will grow back more fully. I tell you, that tree is now stronger, growing in unseen ways. And just wait till harvest—because it’s going to bear much fruit!

Maybe you’re in a storm right now. The wind is blowing hard, shaking you violently, and you think you’re going down. Beloved, don’t panic! You’ve got to know that in the midst of the tempest, you are putting down deep spiritual roots. God is developing in you a deepening humility, a greater mourning and sorrow for sin, a heightened hunger for his righteousness.

God is making you a seasoned soldier of the cross—battle-scarred, but battle-smart and courageous. You may get down on yourself at times—but the Lord never does. The fact is, he could have acted sovereignly at any time to pluck you out of your struggle. But he didn’t—because he saw it producing in you a greater thirst for him!

Romans 5:3 says, “Tribulation worketh patience.” The word worketh means “to accomplish.”

In 2 Corinthians 4:17 we read, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” The word worketh in this verse is the same as in Romans 5:3.