My family and I are walking through a valley right now. Attacks have been coming upon our lives, individually and as a family for months now. Most of my readers know that since last April, my health has come under a major attack, and suffice it to say, that while I have made a turn and am finally feeling much better, the medical expenses have put a tremendous financial strain on us. My wife's job has come under attack, and not only is she just walking under a tremendous stress load every day (combined with her concern over my health and the financial burden) she has no idea if her job will be there in just a few months. Both of our kids have walked through some tremendous attacks and stress themselves. And I won't even go into the stress of pastoring the church. Several times I have found myself asking God, "Why?" The question comes, "Why are we walking through this, when we've been faithful?" Libby and I have found ourselves asking, WHY, when we've given our lives, paid our tithe, done all that He has asked us to do... we've turned down opportunities for moves to much larger and stronger churches, because we felt that God was telling us to stay... and we question God, "Why?" We all walk through times like this. Times where we question God and our faith waivers. The key is, not to give in to fear.
This morning I was reading my devotions, and what I read spoke clearly to me, and this is what I want to share in this entry. In the book of Genesis, God asked Abraham to do a very difficult thing when he instructed him to: "Leave your country...and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing..." It took some time, but eventually Abram left, and did what the Lord had told him. Knowing "the rest of the story" as I do, this spoke volumes to me, not only about our current situation, but something I want to give to others. If you are in a time of question or change... if you're afraid your situation, fearful of the prospect of changing jobs or locations, fearful of changes in your life in any area... it is time to boldly stand on this Scripture because as a child of God you are entitled to the blessing of Abraham. In reality, all our fears basically come down to these two questions: 1) 'Lord, will You protect me?' and 2) 'Lord, will You provide for me?' In our story with Abram (soon to be known as Abraham), God addresses both of these questions. He says to Abram: "Do not be afraid...I am your shield, your very great reward." (Genesis 15:1 NIV) The words, 'very great reward,' literally mean, "I am your unfailing, inexhaustible, ever increasing source of supply." What an awesome promise that is! What this says to me and to you is that I don't have to go to anybody else for protection or provision! What it says is that God's got my back! He's got me covered! But the story is not finished... notice what happened next. It is at this point that God entered into a covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15:18); He said to him: 'I'll take care of you and your descendants as long as you live.' This is the covenant that we live under today. But we cannot miss an important part of this story. There was a problem in the midst of this. The Bible says "Then birds of prey came down on the [sacrifice], but Abram drove them away." (Genesis 15:11 NIV) There's a very important lesson here that is crucial to our walking in covenant with God. Please don't miss this! The "birds of prey" represent Satan's attack! Even though God has promised to take care of me (and you) I (you) must drive away the worries Satan sends to prey on your mind! This is where we must take captive every imagination or thought that exalts itself above God! How do we do that? By standing squarely on the promises God has made to you in His Word. By standing on firm and defending what God has given to us and promised to us! Don't give in to fear, but stand in your "pea patch" and fight for what is yours!