Sometimes I consider my frailties and focus on the difficulty I have when trying to simply walk to the bathroom, or open a pickle jar--things I've always taken for granted. It's then I consider the true victors in daily struggles who face their inadequacies with triumph and fortitude. I think of Elias Brown and the Edmund Endeavor Games--and all those like him. Elias inspires me to have greater courage, to face my day with deeper resolve-- to look beyond my struggles. To focus on what I have rather than what I lack.
I have a friend who has lost faith in the God who reigns victorious over all circumstance and difficulty. He has met such financial defeat in his life he can no longer see the power of the Omnipotent God. May I never face such desolation. May you never face such discouragement and defeat. I've talked. I've written. I've messaged everything I know to message. I've prayed and interceded. In a sense, I, too, could say I've failed. Yet, I do not see my relationship with him, and all I've said to him, as a failure.
I see his faith-loss as something beyond my ability to help. I cannot be his crutch, his refuge, nor the solace he needs. I cannot fix his situation. Only Christ can meet his need. Sadly, he succumbs to the waves of fear and circumstance. He sees only the giants in his vision and is unable to see God's deliverance apart from his own understanding of what that deliverance looks like. His temporal discomfort has superceded his knowledge of a God who keeps him no matter what befalls him. He cannot trust because his trust is in his desires for something better than the state in which he finds himself.
Ever felt like him? I've faced similar defeat--however, not quite with the intensity that seems to have befallen my friend. I've had times when I felt abandoned. Forsaken. Yet, even in those times when I listened to the lies Satan whispered in my ears, I could not totally let go of the truth-- the truth that God is always with me. God never fails me.
The world fails me. The world is not always with me. The world is my enemy and the prince of this world seeks to keep me in darkness and confusion. That prince seeks to toss me to and fro and infiltrate my mind through the crevices of faithlessness, and insecurity, and pride. That prince wiggles his way into my life when I am sick, broken and focused on myself-- my plight, my inadequacies, my stupidity, my regrets, my mistakes. Rather than trust in the Savior who has overcome the world, I relinquish that trust to a distrustful evil being who is hell-bent on destroying the peace that passes all understanding.
He keeps me focused on what I cannot do, rather than what I can do and what God has done and continues to do. When I find myself in situations which zap my faith and sap my energy, God always brings to mind those victors who've gone before me--like Moses, Peter and Paul. God impresses upon my mind those victors who still surround me.
I consider people like Pastor Saeed Abedini who sits in the most disgusting and brutal Iranian prison without any comfort or caring. Bro. Saeed is an American who refuses to denounce his faith in Jesus Christ. That's all he'd have to do to get away from the daily torture and mal-treatment of hatefilled guards and adversaries. But Saeed is a victor. He stands against his enemy and refuses to denounce God. Saeed is one among other victors who speak out for their faith in Christ.
How small I am when I count my victories as ignoring insults, or rising above a person's neglect, or rejection of my opinion. How very small. May God continue to give me strength to be content with or without-- to stand where others fall, to exercise faith where others falter. May I always remember when life is tough that there are others with far greater trials. I pray for those like my friend, for Elias and Pastor Saeed. I pray for those who encourage them--for they are mighty victors, too. May they endure and be comforted in God's power and grace. selahvtoday by hariette petersen