“They will pursue us until we have lured them away from the city, for they will say, ‘They are running away from us as they did before.’ So when we flee from them, you are to rise up from ambush and take the city. The Lord your God will give it into your hand.” (Joshua 8:6-7)
My wife’s battle against cancer has been a wonderful confirmation that God truly works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). It is but a step towards what He has already given into her hand.
We may never know why God allows certain things to happen until we get to the other side of this life, but what I do know is that God is good, and that He is faithful and true to His promises!
In my post Stand Up! , I described how the Israelites’ sin (specifically through a man named Achan) resulted in their defeat at the hands of the Ai army. The people ultimately repented and God forgave them, setting them up for their next victory.
When the army of Ai had initially defeated the Israelites, it gave them a false sense of security and confidence that they could easily defeat them again. This time when Israel approached, the king of Ai sent his full army in pursuit of them, while Joshua sent another group of soldiers around the back to attack the city and ambush them. Israel emerged victorious, as God’s blessing and power was with them this time around. Although the consequences were costly and painful, God still used the result of Israel’s sin and failure to provide a winning strategy for Joshua and his army in battle.
Take a quick assessment of your life right now. Is everything perfect? My guess would be no. And if it is, then get ready for reality to hit pretty soon. The Bible says that we live in a fallen world (Rom. 5:12), and that the enemy is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking to steal, kill, and destroy (1 Pet. 5:8, John 10:10).
While we will continuously face adversity in this lifetime, be encouraged that God is bigger than any trial we will ever face! As we see in situations like Israel’s first defeat at the hands of Ai or in my wife’s cancer, He is the one that can turn any hardship, heartache, failure, or fiasco into victory, for the glory of His Name and the good of His people.
That is why we are to never give up! The Word is clear that in order for healing and restoration to happen, we must surrender our situation completely, repent of any sin, and move forward in trust and obedience. Easier said than done, right? Take heart, for through the blood of Jesus and His righteousness upon us, God is gracious even as we stumble through and make mistakes along the way!
Brother and sister, know that God is able to take even the most immense suffering, and transform it to joy and divine purpose. Your trial is only a stepping stone to where God is taking you.