I’ve encountered many who believe the power of God in a person’s life should absolutely keep them from trials and adversities. The opposite is true; the power of God brings conflicts and struggles. Look at Paul’s life. You would think the great servant and missionary of God wouldn’t encounter any hardship or battles; after all, God’s sovereignty should’ve protected him from it all. Instead we see him enduring long and violent conflicts. He faced literal fierce winds, poisonous snakes, persecution, drowning, and all of the fiery powers of hell – all because he was walking boldly with God. He was a serious threat to the kingdom of darkness. Satan wanted him gone.
But Paul belonged to God. And God protects His own. This speaks clearly to us today… when we submit to the lordship of Christ, the conflict immediately begins. I am not speaking about carnal Christians who merely give lip service to God. I am speaking about the true bride of Christ. Outside pressure will be consistent. Trials and adversities will follow you. Paul described this in vivid language…
“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed–always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” 2 Cor. 4:8-10
In the above scripture, Paul gives us five different images. 1) We are hard- pressed on every side, yet not crushed - enemies are completely surrounding and pressuring him, but not crushing him (The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them. Psalm 34:7). There is a path just wide enough for him to flee. 2) we are perplexed, but not in despair – the way is totally blocked by the enemy, but God shines enough light so we can see the path and escape (No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 cor. 10:13). 3) persecuted, but not forsaken – this is an image of being constantly pursued. The enemy doesn’t leave him alone. 4) struck down, but not destroyed - this is simply telling us that the enemy has his claws in us, we’re knocked down… but, we rise again! We’re overthrown, not overcome! 5) In the last image, always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body, Paul paints us a picture that appears to be one of death. We don’t literally die, but we learn how to die to sin and things of the world. The world can see how the life of Jesus comes to our aid, and how we daily ‘live through Him.’
God has nothing worth having that is easily gained. Anything worth having is expensive; look at the price Jesus paid for our salvation. This divine principle shown by Paul isn’t experienced by all. One cannot expect to really receive it without some kind of struggle.
Let me encourage you in whatever place you are in this moment… You may be suffering, but you cannot fail if you will only dare to believe, stand firm, and refuse to be overcome.