Hard Won Victories

Life throws us the unexpected at us. As a Christian there have been times when I’ve thought, “That shouldn’t happen to me! Why do hard things happen?” As I’ve grown older (not old!!!) I’ve started to put 2 and 2 together. As a child of God, I’m not exempt from attack – I have become the point of attack for I am a threat to the plans of the enemy.

But before I got to this point, I related more than I care to admit with God’s people in the book of Numbers. My daily devotional readings recently brought me to the story in Numbers where spies had been sent into the Promised Land to “spy it out” and bring a report back. Consider what the nation of Israel had been through to get to this point:

1. 400 years of bondage to Egypt.

2. A miraculous series of events that brought Pharaoh to release them.

3. A footrace through the Red Sea to escape the armies of Pharaoh.

4. Witnessing God close the sea on top of their enemy.

5. Miraculous provisions of food.

All of these events were dovetailed with the wandering hearts of God’s people and acts of blatant disobedience and doubt. Once they finally found themselves on the edge of their Promised Land and heard the report of the spies that there were “giants in the land,” they spent the night “weeping aloud and they cried all night.” They even said that it would’ve been better to “return to Egypt.”

In reading that story, I used to criticize the people in this account for their reaction because I didn’t understand that I, too, have mirrored this reaction in my own life when bad things have happened. God had spoken something to me (I thought He had anyway!) but life brought me so many challenges that I quickly forgot what God had said. Wouldn’t it have been better for me to return to life as it was before the promise God gave me? The battles are too intense – no reward could be worth this pain!

As the story goes, the people didn’t enter the land because they doubted (save Joshua and Caleb who did enter in after the rest who doubted died off). I wonder how often I’ve not entered into what God has for me not because the timing was wrong (which is the case sometimes) but because my attitude was – I was unbelieving.

When the battle rages, I’m learning to understand that it will rage according to the greatness of the promise.

Great victories come from great battles.

Lea Peters

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