“Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?’” ~ John 18:10-11.
Jesus knew His hour of glorification was at hand. Peter did not understand fully what was to come, so he drew the sword to fight for the life of the One he loved, and found himself standing in opposition to the Christ. Jesus, on the other hand, understood the evil coming at Him was from the Father for the fulfillment of all things good and glorious. Fighting against drinking that cup would be fighting against Father. Fighting against the very will and way of the Father would keep Jesus from fulfilling the purpose for which He was sent into the earth.
As I read this today, I am reminded that we must have this insight within us that Christ had for His hour of Glory’s opportunity. Every hard thing that comes at us, though the enemy of God intends it for evil, we must realize that God intends to work good out of it. And there are some hard things that come for God’s purpose that are not sent by the enemy of God, but are sent through that evil by God for a purpose that may be beyond our comprehension at the time. Seeing the glorious purpose of God fulfilled requires us to cooperate with Him in addressing our life circumstances. (Romans 8:28; Genesis 50:20)
Take the Patriarch Joseph as example. He suffered much hardship because of what looked like the cruelty of his brothers. But God laid out the plan in which He trained Joseph and put him into position for the dreams sent him by God to be fulfilled. Though Joseph did not fully understand why he had to go through such hardship, he kept faith and trust in God, cooperating with Him by making the most of each situation. As a result, those very things suffered were used of God to grow his faith and his gifting in preparation for his ultimate role that fulfilled the purpose of God in saving his people in the time of famine. Just think what might have been if Joseph fought his captivity instead of making the best of it?
Thus I find myself asking today what situations I am in that are God’s road for training and equipping me for the opportunity ahead that will allow me to work with Him in fulfilling the glory He has planned for my life.
We all go through days of difficulty, beloved. Sometimes those hardships come because of our sin: Father’s disciplining hand reaching down to deliver us from those tendencies that too often lead us astray of His will and way. Beloved, when it comes to God’s desire for a right and eternal relationship with us, He is not afraid to break our leg as a good Shepherd would do to a wayward sheep, putting us into a position where we will seek Him and where He can have quality time with us, gaining our undivided attention. He would rather put us on our backs now to keep us from eternal damnation and separation from Him than see us perish for all eternity. He uses such times to increase our faith, enabling us to fully trust Him who is making us into the person of His design, ready to fulfill His purpose.
Most often the evil one sends difficulty meant to knock us off kilter in an attempt to stop the work of God in and through us. The devil hates God and he hates us who follow him. Lucifer wants to be God, and he wants as many as he can possibly deceive to be with him in his eternal punishment. So he works overtime, doing all he can to hinder the work of God in and through us who are his witnesses and his chosen vessels meant to help others come to Christ. If Satan can lead us to destroy our testimony so we are useless in the work of helping others to discover the truth of Christ, he wins a battle. If not that, he will work to get us so wrapped up in our hardships and difficulties that we have no time or energy to minister to others, thus bringing us to defeat.
Then there are the times, like with Christ and Joseph, when God is the one who sends those things into our lives that bring difficulty and are hard to understand. He uses such hardship to train and prepare us for some work ahead that may not be evident yet. Or those very difficult things may very well be the very path that gets us into position for God’s very glory to come forth and accomplish His very purpose for our very lives. It is the “verily, verily” of God’s very truth.
Joseph, like Christ, chose to not allow evil to win, but to cooperate with God’s goodness in the midst of the hardship faced in order for God’s purpose to be fulfilled for the good of all concerned. These are examples to us in our own times of difficulty. No matter the source of the evil, cooperate with God. Don’t put self in a position of fighting God. Know the true battle lines and turn to face the frontlines with Father.
The question for us today is, will we fall to the will of the evil one who is out for our destruction, or will we cooperate with God? Choosing cooperation with God for the good He desires is vital, lest we find ourselves fighting against the One who is doing us good, and not harm meant for evil. God is always working in us to give us a future and hope for our final outcome. And He may even use hardship to put us into a place of being His resource for the salvation of others (Jeremiah 29:11).