Finding Strength For The Battles Of Life
When I was first asked to write on the subject of ‘battles’, I didn’t think I had very much to say about the subject. Unless discussing my predictions for the much-anticipated next series of Game of Thrones counts? But, whilst most of us probably won’t have any real first-hand experience of living in a battle or war zone, it strikes me that all of us do still have lots of battles to contend with in our lives.
Sometimes those battles can be relatively small and insignificant, but they can still feel quite big in the moment; like the one I’ve just had in persuading Sky TV to fix our broken installation box without any charge, or the endless daily battles I face with my three year old about getting dressed and brushing his teeth.
At other times, the circumstances we battle in life really aren’t so temporary, or so easily fixed at all. In fact, sometimes they can seem so overwhelming and unconquerable that we fear they might swallow us up whole.
The Battles I face
Right now, I find myself wrestling with all my thoughts and my feelings about my son’s recent referral for the ASD (autism spectrum disorder) pathway, a possible cancer diagnosis for my father and also an ongoing battle with miscarriage and fertility complications that my husband and I have found ourselves facing over the past 18 months.
The truth is that life can be really uncertain and unsettling at times, but this shouldn’t really come as a surprise to us as Christians.
After all, Jesus warned us that it would be so.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16: 33)
I don’t know exactly what circumstances or situations you might be battling with right now, but I think that often the biggest battlefield of all is the internal one that happens in our own minds.
It can be really easy to start to feel hopeless or defeated when the battles of life threaten to steal away our peace, especially when a few different troubles come all at once.
But, the good news is, that we don’t need to be overwhelmed by our circumstances or the battles that we face, because Jesus also promised to give us His peace in the midst of our troubles.
Here are a few of my thoughts on how we can discover His peace in the midst of the raging battles of life:
- He has already told us the end of the story
One of the main ways that I have found peace in the midst of life’s battles is through His promise that our ‘now struggles’ are not going to be our ‘always’.
And it’s something that I’m reminded of almost every time I open my Bible.
In Genesis, we read how Adam and Eve lived in total harmony with God and with each other in the garden of Eden and how ‘battle’ and ‘struggle’ were never originally meant to be a part of our human experience at all.
No wonder it sometimes leaves us feeling so out of sorts…
His Word also offers us the ultimate hope and reassurance that He has already overcome the world; that whatever the current battles we might face, the final victory is already assured.
He has already told us the end of the story.
So, sometimes when we find ourselves feeling a bit battled out, it’s worth taking a step back reminding ourselves of the bigger picture again.
God really does have everything under control.
- He has promised us His presence
It’s one thing to know that He is a God who is redeeming and restoring and making all things new again, but right now we are still living somewhere between the ‘now’ and the ‘not yet’ kingdom. There are real battles in our present, so we really need to know His peace for today.
Something that I am coming to realise, more and more, is that His peace doesn’t come from living in peace times or from our circumstances at all.
It comes from knowing His presence is with us. From knowing that we are not abandoned or left fighting alone.
Psalm 23: 5 says that
He prepares a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
Just how incredible and mind-bending is that?
As humans, how often do we want and expect God to instantly swoop in and rescue us out of our circumstances? Or to destroy all our enemies in front of us, first?
That is simply not God’s way.
Instead, He says that right in the midst of the battle field, whilst we’re still facing adversity and feeling under attack, that’s where He wants to sit down and eat a meal with us.
How often do we fail to realise that the meal table He prepares for us offers us refreshment, nourishment, conversation, rest, and all of the calm that we seek; which comes from just being in His presence?
- He is the One who fights for us
I don’t know about you, but often I find it very easy to jump straight into either the ‘attack’ or ‘defence’ battle mode whenever I feel criticised, cornered, attacked or in any way misunderstood.
Yet, whenever I look at scripture, I am reminded that there is also another way to fight my battles, which involves allowing God to be my shield and my defence, instead.
So, if you ever find yourself feeling weary of trying to fight all of your own battles on your own, maybe it’s time to lay down some of that self-sufficiency and let Him be the one who fights for you instead?
And who knows, but maybe just like Moses and the Israelite army in Exodus 14:14, you will hear His voice saying to you:
“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
What battles are you facing today?
I don’t know what kind of battles you are facing as you read this today. Maybe you’ve literally got the battle of your life on your hands right now, or maybe there’s just a few different, smaller battles going on, which are slowly but cumulatively chipping away at your peace.
Perhaps, like me, you’ve found yourself saying to God at times, ‘I don’t feel like I’m winning in life here and I feel like I’ve already given everything I’ve got to this battle. What more can I possibly do?’
Well, the answer that keeps coming back to my mind is in Ephesians 6:13, which says this:
“…and after you have done everything to stand, stand firm then”.
In other words, when you have done all you can actively do about a situation, and prayed all the prayers you can pray about it, and declared all the truth that you can speak over it too, then all that’s left is to just stand firm.
Sometimes it literally takes everything you have just to keep on standing firm on the promises of God, doesn’t it?
But, do it anyway.
Don’t sit down, don’t opt out, and don’t give up just yet, either.
Keep on standing until your breakthrough comes.