By Joseph Diop
Copyright © 2017 by Joseph Diop
You may not believe this, but I have already been through my own customized version of “The Great Tribulation.” As a matter of fact, 2Corinthians 1:1-9 straightforwardly teaches that we ministers are called to go through all our troubles in advance of the general congregation, so that we may minister you through your troubles effectively. I want to share with you what I believe is the number one secret of surviving and thriving through big troubles. I call it the “One-Two Punch” of faith – guaranteed to knock the devil out of your heart every time.
Please don’t misunderstand. I am not treating these severe traumas in life with a Pollyanna attitude. I have lost a young child, been to jail, been locked up in the mental hospital, had countless marital difficulties, been divorced, been homeless, been generally persecuted by the larger church body – not for my faults, but for my faith, been greatly slandered, suffered a stroke, and had a gun placed to my forehead. So, you might want to listen to what I have to say.
Life is not easy. But, if you get to know the Lord, and if you continue to grow in him, trouble is guaranteed. Yes indeed, the scripture says, “We must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). So, if you haven’t already experienced any, then get ready for big troubles. I am still here to help you through. God’s one-two punch will keep you going and keep you growing whatever trials come your way. Here it is. If you will acknowledge God’s sovereignty in the midst of your trouble, and constantly give him thanks for the details of your trouble, then you will get through it with maximum benefit and power.
Punch #1). Meet all troubles by confessing Romans 8:28, which says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, for those who are the called according to his purpose.” By this, you are acknowledging that God, not the devil, and not man, is the One in control of this situation. Like did Job (Job 2:10), we must realize that God not only sends blessings that are blessings in our eyes, but He also sends blessings in disguise. We label those kind of blessings “trials, tribulations, and afflictions.”
Punch #2). Follow up your confession of Romans 8:28 with obedience to Hebrews 13:15, which says, “By [Christ] therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Here, you give God thanks not only in the trial, but you give him thanks FOR EVERY PAINFUL DETAIL OF THAT TRIAL. You just have to will yourself to do that in obedience. And, you can’t cheat the system. You must literally thank God expressly for everything about the situation that just breaks your heart. That clears you from subjection to any lingering bitterness or brokenness that might otherwise ensue.
If you do these things, you won’t get stuck at that level. Unlike the children of Israel, who turned a three-day trek into a forty-year saga, you will as speedily as possible be able to move on in the Spirit. Because you have made the right response to God in this situation, He will speedily turn your sorrows into seeds of a new harvest of righteousness, your stumbling-blocks into steppingstones to a new dimension of faith, and He’ll turn your losses into launching pads to a higher level of his grace and glory. God will show up and show out for you. And, the devil won’t be able to get a word in edgewise, nor answer the bell. Guaranteed!!!