Facing Giants in Our Lives

 

 “Because Caleb & others had a different spirit and followed Me fully, best viagra sovaldi I will bring them all into the Promised Land which they entered, cialis sales advice and their descendants shall take possession of it.”

 Numbers 14:24

(rvk)

Upon coming out of Egypt, health a majority of Israelites saw only imposing giants at the borders of the Promised Land, but Caleb and other faithful followers simply saw God!   Those who doubted said, “We will not be able to go up into such a place”, but those who believed said, “Let us go up at once and possess it, for we are well able with God at our side.”

Giants stand for the great difficulties we face in this life which often stalk us everywhere and in every way.  They make their presence known in our families, churches, work, social life, and even in our own sequestered hearts.  And unless we overcome these giants, they will eventually eat us alive as they did with many of the Israelites who shook before their giants in Canaan.

Fortunately though for Israel, there were a few men like Caleb, Joshua, and others who did not shake, but said, “The giants are like bread to us; we will eat them up.”  In other words, “We will be stronger than them as if they were no giants at all.” 

Now the fact is for you and me that unless we have this same kind of overcoming faith we shall surely be consumed by the giant troubles facing us.  So, let us have the spirit of faith that Caleb and others had, seeing an overwhelming God amidst our current troubles. If we do, the Lord will surely take care of each difficulty, one-by-one.

There is a prevalent idea amongst many Christians that reliance on God during tough times should immediately do away with the troubles we face. However, according to the majority of great believers in the Bible, like Caleb, Joshua, and even Paul of the New Testament, their reliance on God during difficult times often brought greater conflict and difficulty into their lives. But only for a short while, because the giants (difficulties, troubles, trials) they faced were eventually slain by God, leading them to experience a greater faith and even greater final victory.

In respect to Paul for instance, one would have thought that on his great missionary journey to Rome, he would have been safely transported there without storm, tempest, or enemies.   On the contrary, it was a trip that was hard for Paul and included battles with persecuting Jews, wild tempests, venomous vipers, and all the contrary powers of earth and hell. In the end Paul was saved, even though seemingly by the narrowest of margins, for he had to swim ashore at Malta on a piece of wreckage to barely escape a watery grave.

Was that like a God of infinite power?  Yes, very much so, as Paul testifies in his second letter to the believers in Corinth.

            But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of  Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is  being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the  things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.    II Corinthians 4:7-10, 16-18

The language which Paul employs in this letter is very graphic.  There are four clear pictures he presents to make his points.

  • In the  first, the idea is crowding enemies pressing in from every side, and yet  not crushing you because the guardians of heaven clear the way just wide enough for you to get through.  The  literal translation would be, “We are crowded on every side, but not  crushed.” 

 

  • The  second pictures one whose way seems utterly closed and yet he has pressed      through; there is light enough to show him the next step.  An additional translation puts it, “Perplexed but not unto despair,” or even more literally “Without a way, but not without a by-way.”

 

  • The  third picture is that of an enemy in hot pursuit while God stands by, refusing  to leave. Better said, “Pursued but not abandoned.”

 

  • The  fourth picture is still more vivid and dramatic. The enemy has overtaken you, has struck you, and knocked you down. But it is not a fatal blow; you are able to rise again.  It might be translated, “Overthrown but not overcome.” Once more the picture advances, and now it seems to include death itself, “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus.”  But you do not die, for He comes to your aid.  And because of this you continue to live out His life, for He is within you to do so, until He is finished and not before.

I believe the reason so many Christians fail when difficulties come, when the giants show up unannounced, is because we expect a victorious Christian experience and life without struggle. Such is not the ground where faith grows best or strongest, nor where difficult battles and victories are won.

So hang in there and be like Caleb, Joshua, Paul and other great believers of the Bible who saw an overwhelming God amidst their circumstances.  And don’t wish the battle you are going through to be over too soon, for it is causing within you a growth of faith far beyond what you could have gained otherwise.

Teachable Moment

In respect to this teaching on facing giants, I have many before me right now.  Months ago after my son gave up his home and ministry in Los Angeles to become a missionary to the Republic of Georgia (A country sandwiched between Russia and Turkey); I prayed to see if God wanted me to make a change also. After much prayer and counsel, I felt the Lord saying, “Your time in Bakersfield is over, it’s time to return to Boise, Idaho.”   So I pursued this, and within 3 days of putting my house up for sale, it sold.  Amazingly, we are now in Boise, furniture stored in a storage locker, and staying in the basement of my daughter’s home.  In December we will move into a rental house we have owned for a couple of years.  After that we will begin looking for a home, hopefully near the ministry the Lord has in mind for us.

The giants we face every day now are not seeing or being near the family, friends, and ministry we had in Bakersfield, Los Angeles, and San Luis Obispo over the past 13 years.  But what keeps us going is focusing on and seeing God amidst our circumstances.  And we do this by praying daily, reading His Word, and looking to what is ahead, rather than what is behind.   Paul said it best to believers in Philippi,

“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do:     forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”   (Philippians 3:12-14)

Finally, we do seek your prayers as we face down our giants, so please include us in your prayers when you can.  And pray for our son Brodie, who has taken his entire family (wife-Katie, son-Luke, daughters-Maddie and Anabelle) to a country that desperately needs the Gospel, yet is still very new and foreign to them.