We’ve all got odds. The things that you know aren’t likely — you know the saying “the odds are stacked against you.” We all get that. It’s part of life. But I think the human spirit has a built in “beat the odds” factor. I think we all like to beat the odds sometimes. And, really, it doesn’t always have to be tangible victory. Here is my odds story.
April was probably one of the worst months of my life. It was not marked by death, sickness or divorce. It was was marked by pressing pressure. Heavy overload. My forehead bore the persistant pressure for weeks. At times, my shoulders and back physically hurt with pain. The pressure seemingly came from the pain in my heart. It is my thought that when the heart envelops a great deal of pain, the secondary experience of that is back-breaking and a heavy mind.
April could have been marked by disappointment or maybe other equally worse markers. But it was not. I learned two things in April. I learned that God is faithful and that He sometimes delivers at the very last moment of the very last hour. In fact, that has been His timing recently. In His wisdom, over the last several years, He showed himself faithful to me with a lot of time to spare. It gave me the faith to believe that He would also be faithful when there is no time left to spare. He did that in April. And I think my faith is bigger and stronger because of His timing.
I also recognized that this battle is not mine. We all know when we have caused ourselves to be in a bind. But, in this case, there was no outright sin of mine to claim. I was mainly in a bind because God saw fit to allow it. And when my understanding of what was happening reached its maximum point of lack of understanding, I did not let the inability to solve the puzzle crush me in my humanness. I did not open the door to what would make sense under the circumstances … such as defeatedness or despair. Although I did cry some of the time, I decided to acknowledge and surrender to His plan. There were too many problems for me to figure out and I knew that it was beyond what I was capable of. I think I began to understand what Paul was talking about when he said that this battle is not against flesh and blood, but in the heavenlies. No other explanation made sense to me. If I am a tool He is using to work out His plan, if I have the honor of suffering for Him while war is waged in the heavenlies, then I am thankful to Him for April.
I recently finished Beth Moore’s study on James and I like to think that I got a little bit of James in me. I want a lot more of James in me. And I know that I got some James in me because of April. I do really like Jesus’ character in me. And I like beating the odds.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:10-20
Inspired by my pastor’s January 6 message this year.