Seasons of Contention
There comes a season in our lives when we have to contend for the promises although God has already committed them to us. The contention however, is not going to last forever. During the contention, our character is forged. We almost always think that we will die. We almost always feel as though we will not make it. However, God is more interested in who we are becoming. He will get glory both from us obtaining the promise, and from the remaking of our character while contending for the promise.
The contention can be very discouraging. This is especially true if you are contending for others and seeing them get results and your situations remain unresolved. But, God is faithful. The prolonged contention forces us to re-examine our motives repeatedly. In verity, we are very human. We will doubt, or second guess, or experience negative emotions. The key is to not dwell there. At times, no amount of cliché motivational quotes, truthful as they might be, can move us pass these feelings of bewilderment, disappointment and discouragement. In those moments, when we don’t understand, we’ve done everything God has told us to do, and we are certain that we are “walking in our calling” yet it seems God is distant, what do we do? We have to remain in that place of persistent prayer.
I know many teachers, prophets, pastors, et cetera are talking about this. Therefore, if God is causing so many people to be talking about this, I believe it is a timely reminder. The adversary of our souls might not have all the details. However, he knows how much God values us. He knows that maybe, just maybe, if we can become discouraged enough, we will change our confession, we will wallow in our negative thought patterns and then we will abort the promise or delay it further. The times aren’t necessarily going to get easier. We have to live with the contention with deep settled peace and resolve, until we can live above the contention in a season of rest. God didn’t deliver the three Hebrew boys before they went into the fire, they had to go in. God didn’t stop Daniel from going into the lions’ den. He didn’t prevent Joseph from going to the pit and the prison. He didn’t stop Paul, Silas, and Peter from going to prison. He didn’t stop Stephen from being stoned to death. He didn’t stop John from being beheaded. And He certainly, and thankfully, didn’t stop Jesus from going to the cross.
Sometimes we will feel like John the Baptist and have to ask if Jesus is really Jesus. And that is okay. God understands where we are in life. But even Jesus Himself, before going to the cross, persisted in prayer so much so, that his sweat became drops of blood. He knew the assignment. He also knew the outcome. However, that didn’t stop Him from, in His fully man self, wanting to not go through the contention for the promise.
It is okay to feel overwhelmed. It is okay to be tired of constant warfare. It is okay to wonder why everyone else around you are receiving and yet you remain in a steady state of waiting…full of potential energy waiting to be transformed into kinetic energy. It is okay to feel like it is never ending. Yes the warfare is hot and real. Yes it is overwhelming. Yes, many evil forces have been gathered against you. Yes, there are people sitting in places where you don’t even hear them and their sole assignment is to ensure that you never succeed. But let us not lose our confession. Even through the tears we must resolve with great determination that we will not be silent. We will persist in praise. We will persist in confessing the word of God because surely there is no enchantment nor divination that can work against us. For sure, there is no weapon formed that will prosper. We will get double honour for our shame. Though the vision tarries, we simply have to wait for it because it must be fulfilled at the appointed time. There are more that are with us than those that are against us. Though a host should rise against us we can be confident. Our Lord does not have the capacity to forsake us! He doesn’t know what it means to leave us alone to fight! He is with us more than our finite human minds can ever comprehend this side of Heaven.
So, let us not lose our confession. Let us press on with bold defiance even when we are hard pressed on every side. When life’s circumstances squeeze us, Jesus must come out! When the pressures of life overwhelm us, praises must come out! When we don’t understand anything that is happening, we must trust the heart and hand of God to guide us and carry us over. May God’s peace be so tangible in our difficult times that we never forget to praise Him, in spite of it all and, in the midst of it all.
So my overwhelmed, tattered, wounded, and whatever else you are feeling in this season friend, what will your confession be? What will you do in these hard times when others seem to be prospering but it seems that God has forgotten your address physically, spiritually and financially? Will you give up, give out and give in? Or will you, after being tested and tried, come through on the other side, not looking or smelling like the fire that you’ve just been through? Will you hold fast to God even as you feel like you are groping blindly in spiritual darkness and fog? What are you going to do in your season of contention?