There have been many times in my life that it seemed the greatest opposition came just before a breakthrough. I’ve assumed that to be a pattern of the enemy, a menacing dark storm to stop me from getting to the next peaceful place. It preaches well. But lately I’ve been rethinking that, as I’ve recognized that there has been a quiet, unconscious belief that God isn’t always good (to me, anyway) if He keeps allowing that kind of attack. Because sometimes it has defeated me. More than sometimes.
Without letting it become a fully-formed thought, it’s been a subroutine in my mind that makes me dread change, because I know there will be a large amount of pain before it comes. I get overwhelmed, stressed, resentful, and I end up just staying where I am because the awareness of the problem has far outweighed the awareness of His promise.
As I was mowing the lawn recently (one of my favorite times to talk to God- the left side of my brain is satisfied to be producing logical patterns, and the right side is free to process God’s voice), I experienced Him bringing that (un)belief to the surface. As I recognized it in myself, I asked Him to show me how He sees it. Asking God to show you how He sees yourself, your circumstances, and the world is so critical for living in a heaven-toward-earth mindset (Matt. 6.9-13). I can pray for that perspective all I want, but until I see life as He does, at best I’m going to try to copy someone else’s breakthrough, but more likely, I’m just going to keep repeating what I know.
As my mowing row went slightly askew, He said to my heart that I’ve been missing how much opposition is a gift, and actually a key to breakthrough. He reminded me of Numbers 14.8-9: “If the Lord delights in us, then He will give us this land which flows with milk and honey. Do not rebel against Him, and do not fear the enemy, FOR THEY ARE OUR BREAD. Their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.”
“They are our bread”. I know I’m making a leap from how they used the spoils of physical war to spiritual advancement, but I don’t think it’s that far a jump. As I thought about that, a different kind of peace came from Him. It wasn’t the “It’s okay, I’m here to rescue you” kind of peace. It was a deep, confident “Let’s suit up and go”.
As David faced Goliath, I think he was more aware of the prophet’s words over him than the size of his opponent. According to Samuel, he was going to become king someday. He also knew he had faced a bear and a lion to prepare him for greater challenges. And he knew God’s presence from countless hours of worship. Goliath wasn’t the insurmountable obstacle he appeared as to everyone else, but a gateway to becoming what had been prophesied over his own life.
For every attack of the enemy, God’s truth, joy, grace, and provision to deal with it are so much bigger. Yeah, there are things that happen that I don’t understand, either. But I won’t let what I can’t know define what I do. One of the things I know is that if God is love (1 John), He is not a sadist. He doesn’t torture people to teach them a lesson. Even if I ignore Him and live in my own negativity and pain, He is right there waiting for me to turn to Him. He will use all the circumstances of your life, including the attacks of the enemy, all your failures, and all your wrong thinking, to transform you to become all He sees you can be. It isn’t about surviving the storm to get to the next peaceful place. It’s about releasing the peace He’s given you over every storm you face.
If God’s provisions to deal with the negative situations you’re facing are indeed greater than the situations themselves, does that not change how you see your life and the world right now? For as difficult as things are, the potential of what God wants to do in and through you is beyond words. This is what He specializes in! Taking what the enemy means for evil, and making it brilliant, amazing, transforming, a dream come true.
In Genesis 50.20, Joseph tells his brothers: “you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” God takes even the most vile betrayal against an individual, and if he or she will live in His presence, He will transform it into blessing over nations. The word “meant” can also be translated as “weave”. Joseph had been given a beautiful coat by his father Jacob as an expression of love. The enemy used his brothers to destroy it. Years later, God “rewove” Joseph’s life, using every lie and attack the enemy could throw at him to give him a far greater coat, one the enemy couldn’t touch, though he had been used to create it.
The enemy isn’t just your bread. He’s toast.