according to all that he promised.
There has not failed one word of all his good promise,
which he promised by Moses his servant.
Romans 8:15 (WEB)
Revelation 2:11 (WEB)
We have an amazing future in store for us! We do not have to be afraid of judgment because Jesus Himself promises that those who overcome will not be hurt by the second death. When I think of this promise, I think of the verse in 1 Corinthians 15:55 that says… “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (NIV)
Praise God that death no longer has a sting over us! We don’t have to live in fear of death because our Elder Brother Jesus has conquered death and sin and the grave once and for all. Another Bible verse that comes to mind is from Hebrews 2:14-15…
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. (ESV)
Jesus has destroyed the one who once held the power of death so that we can experience true life and freedom of the fear of death! To echo again the words of 1 Corinthians 15:55… “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (NIV)
God answers prayer in one of three ways: “yes,” “no,” or “yes, but not yet.” This last reply seems to be the most dreaded— sometimes even more than an outright “no.” However, patience is an important trait for the Christian, as Scripture stresses repeatedly in stories, psalms, and epistles.
Waiting on the Lord to unlock a door is always wiser than attempting to pry it open ourselves, even when the delay has been long. After God promised him descendants (Gen. 12:2), Abraham lived for 25 years with an answer of “not yet.” After that quarter-century, the answer finally became “yes.” But meanwhile, Abraham and Sarah came up with their own plan to get an heir—Sarah’s servant Hagar bore Ishmael. The couple may have convinced themselves they were “helping” God live up to His prophecy, but really they were disobeying. The consequences were disastrous. Bitterness and blame affected every member of the family (Gen. 16:4-6; Gen. 21:9-10). What’s more, Ishmael’s people lived in enmity with their neighbors, and that hostility persists in the Middle East today (Gen. 21:9-14; Gen. 25:18).
Our patience gives God time to prepare the opportunity on the other side of a closed door. Even if we could force our way by manipulating circumstances, we would not be happy with what we find there. No one in Abraham’s camp was satisfied with the situation they created! We can have contentment and joy only when we access the Lord’s will at the very moment He ordained. The blessings we find on the other side of an open door are always worth the wait.
Exodus 14:14 (WEB)
I believe there is something in the heart of God that fights on our behalf when we do not try and fight for ourselves. Waiting on the Lord is not passive, but it is the most active thing we can do. When we wait on God to fight for us, we are putting ourselves in a very vulnerable position and by doing so, we are demonstrating in a very practical way that we know that our heavenly Dad is the source of our help.
Does this mean that we never wage warfare on a spiritual level? After all, the Bible says that we are to ‘resist the devil and he will flee’, ‘take on the full armor of God’, etc. I believe what Exodus 14:14 is talking about is fighting in our own strength. There is a huge difference from fighting our battles in our own best efforts and fighting battles in the power of the Lord’s might.
When we learn that the battle really is the Lord’s, we can rest in His ability to save us and draw from His strength and not our own. Whatever battle you are facing today, be comforted in knowing that you have a Father (God) and a Big Brother (Jesus) fighting on your behalf. You only need to be at peace and watch what happens.
Running Away From God?
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
— Psalm 139:7–8
In the classic children’s book The Runaway Bunny, Margaret Wise Brown weaves a wonderful story about a little rabbit who wants to run away from his mother. But he can’t. Every escape plan he comes up with, his mother promises to foil. The bunny wants to become a fish so that he can swim away, but his mother pledges to become a fisherman so that she can catch him. The bunny suggests becoming a bird so that he can fly away, but his mother insists that she will become the tree that he flies home to.
After many failed proposals, the bunny finally decides that he will be a little boy so that he can run away, but his mother is quick to say that she will become his mother “so that I can catch you in my arms and hug you.” “Shucks,” said the bunny. “I may just as well stay where I am and be your little bunny.”
This sweet book captures the dual relationship between parents and children. On one hand, children often wish to run away from their parents because of conflict and their limited understanding of parents’ rules. The book also portrays the other side of the equation: the unwavering love of a parent for a child, a gift that is invaluable and beyond compare. While children may try to escape from their parents’ rules and discipline, ultimately, it is the parents’ presence that gives children the foundation on which they can be successful and independent in life.
Thousands of years earlier, this relationship was beautifully described in Psalm 139. Instead of being about rabbits or children, however, it is about our relationship with our Father in Heaven. Just as the little bunny cannot escape his mother, we cannot escape from God. As the psalmist wrote, “Where can I flee from your presence?”
The answer to this question can be daunting. God is always watching what we do – both the good and the bad. There is nowhere to run, no place to hide. Yet, God’s omnipresence is also comforting. In this lonely world, we are never alone. “If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”
Like the bunny finally realized, we may as well stop running. There is no way to run away from God; anywhere we go, He’ll be there. And that’s a good thing: “even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (v. 10). Wherever we may go in this life, we are with God, under His protective care. Truly, there is nowhere else I’d rather be. What about you?