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Battles Produce Breakthrough

A few nights ago, I had one of those complete emotional breakdowns. You know the one: mascara streaks painting my face, a dark cloud in my mind blocking any foreseeable positive future, and a crippling sadness that made me want to pull the covers over my head and remain there alone, forever.


Dramatic, I know.


But in the moment, I really felt like someone had used a vacuum to suck any and all hope from my body.


I have spent every night on my knees, praying for breakthrough.

I have read my scriptures, completed my devotionals, and put God first in everything.

I have done my best to walk in God's Word, and put others first.


So, why am I in yet another battle - this one far more terrifying than the last?


God, I'm doing everything You've asked, why aren't you answering my prayers?

 

"I commanded you at that time: “The Lord your God has given you this land to take possession of it. But all your able-bodied men, armed for battle, must cross over ahead of the other Israelites."

 

This scripture in Deuteronomy reminded me of something so important. Every time God promises a blessing, He also requires an act of obedience.


God never just handed the Israelites any land He promised them.


He always required them to go to battle first.


Now, if you're anything like me, you're asking why? Why in the world would a loving God make us face such fear-gripping, emotionally-draining, and potentially harmful situations?


Well, here's what He revealed to me:

 

1. He is strengthening our faith.

If God handed us everything we ask for without requiring any participation on our end, we wouldn't learn to exercise our faith. When you skip the gym for a few months, your muscles shrink and lose their strength. The same goes for faith. The more we exercise it, the more it strengthens.


Faith is hope for what we do not see. Situations that God asks us to step into with bold faith seem as though they have no positive outcome because you cannot see it. You cannot logically explain through an ending that would make sense. And, quite honestly, if you could, this wouldn't require bold faith. It would require pretty weak faith - which leads me to my next point...


2. He is using this situation for His glory.

Every time God instructed the Israelites to step into battle, He came through and delivered them in an unexplainable, supernatural way. In fact, this is seen time and time again in the Bible.


Daniel went into the lion's den, and yet came out without a scratch. Peter was put into prison, and then was miraculously set free by an angel. David was standing face to face with Goliath, but defeated him with a sling and a stone.


These are just a few of the tangible illustrations of God's power and mercy for His people. Maybe God wants you to step into this battle, so He can deliver you in a way that no man can explain. Maybe He wants to use that revelation to speak to unbelievers and reveal His power. Maybe, He wants to show you that only He can write the perfect solution, not us.


3. He is developing your character.

I'm sure you've heard the saying "practice makes perfect". And while we will never reach perfection, the art of practicing a skill over and over again will certainly produce results of something close to mastery.


One summer, I asked my soccer coach how I could become more accurate using my left foot. His answer? Practice. Form a habit of using it more than my comfortable right foot, and soon the ease of using both will be evident. He was right. After hours and hours of dedication, my left foot grew to be just as strong as my right.


At first, it wasn't comfortable, and my passes were totally inaccurate. But as time went on, and my determination increased with small victories, I was able to successfully see immense progress.


Your battle is probably uncomfortable, but God is using it to develop you. He is presenting opportunity for you to practice your self-worth, compassion, patience, trust, or whatever He wants you to work on. Instead of critiquing yourself for not getting it perfect right away, keep practicing. Day by day.


Pretty soon, you'll look back and see how far you've come, and how much you've grown.


So, God is not punishing you with battles.

In fact, it's just the opposite.


He's strengthening you, molding you, and shaping you to be stronger.


He's writing your testimony, and knows that one day you will use it to inspire others to make it through.


Don't give up. Don't be discouraged.

He who has promised is faithful.


Step into your battle with bold faith, and watch the wonders God can do in and through you.

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