Have you ever noticed that a "mountain high" experience is usually followed by a "valley low" encounter? Have you ever noticed that you cannot have a "testimony" without having a "test" first? It is amazing how that works.
All of us know the story of the prophet Elijah and how he stood against all the priests of Baal at Mount Carmel and allowed God to use him to show the mightiness of the Lord before King Ahab and his queen, Jezebel. (If you aren't familiar with the story, check out 1 Kings 18 and 19) In verse 36 of 1 Kings 18, Elijah prays a prayer that was so powerful, when it was over, God rained down fire from heaven to "prove" that He was God and basically, that Elijah was His prophet. And yet, a mere 12 verses later, (1 Kings 19:3), the Bible says, "Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.", because he heard that Jezebel was out to get him and had threatened his life. Now, come on, Elijah! You just saw the manifestation of the Lord in a powerful way and yet, you are running away because of the words of a woman! What's up with that?
And yet, how many of us have experienced the same "Mount Carmel /run from the enemy" experience in our own lives? How many times has God manifested Himself to us - shown us His love, His mercy, His grace in our lives - and we recognize it, praise Him for it - only to turn around and run when the enemy shows up with a new test, a new trial, a new situation. I am going through a trial at work, and even as I see the enemy trying to trip me up, make me stumble, make me curse (and not "veggie curses" either!) - I am reminded over and over again that the enemy is NOT the one in control of this situation. GOD IS! (Can I get an "AMEN"?!) In the midst of this trial, I am striving to remember my favorite Bible promise, which is found in Jeremiah 29:11: FOR I KNOW THE PLANS THAT I HAVE FOR YOU, SAITH THE LORD, PLANS TO PROSPER YOU AND NOT TO HARM YOU, PLANS TO GIVE YOU HOPE AND A FUTURE.
So, while the enemy may be camping round about me, slinging arrow and darts and boulders, God has it all under control. HIS plan for my life is for me to prosper and not be harmed - even when it seems like that is happening. As my pastor admonished last night in mid-week prayer service, we have to change our focus. When the battle seems tough, praise God. Shout now, in the midst of the trial, knowing that deliverance is around the corner. And you know what: even if it takes longer than you expect to be delivered...it's still all good because God's ultimate plan is to "prosper you and not to harm you." AMEN! AMEN!
Another point that my pastor made was this: A delay (in an answer to a prayer) is not necessarily a denial (from God). I may ask God, sincerely and earnestly, for deliverance from the situation I am currently undergoing at work - and it may seem like God is not listening, not answering, not hearing my plea...it may SEEM that way...but my time is not always in line with God's time. There may be a witness that I am supposed to make here at work based on how I deal with the trial. There may be someone who is watching me, as the "Christian" on the floor, to see how I handle what is being thrown my way. There may be something in my character that God needs to work out and that is why He is allowing me to go through this trial at this time in this way. I don't know. But He does and I trust Him to work it all out...not only for my good, but for His glory.
I solicit your prayers. And I ask you to join me as I "shout now" even in the midst of this trial. 'Cause greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. AMEN! (I'm getting happy here at my desk as I type this! smile) No matter the valley ahead, God has a mountain top experience waiting for me when this is all over.