Have you ever found yourself wondering how much longer it will take for you to go from where you are now to your Promised Land? Have you ever felt like giving up because whatever it was you were praying and believing God for was taking too long? Perhaps you even got to the point where you convinced yourself that whatever it was you were hoping for wasn’t that important after all. You could live without it. God didn’t really want you to have it anyway. Whatever. Anything that makes the pain of unfulfilled dreams and unanswered prayers more bearable.
I have news for you. It isn’t over until it’s over. I learned something last week. Or rather, I re-learned it. You see, I thought I had learned it before, but I needed to re-learn it – take that class again – because somehow I had forgotten. I was preparing for a devotion to share with the students at Mpower, a ministry training institute that I help at once a week. Somehow God led me to talk about the following verse:
Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand. (Ephesians 6 :13 NKJV)
There it is, that little phrase, ‘having done all, stand’.
When you have done all that you know to do (and the verses after the one above – verses 14-18 – tell you what you should be doing), STAND. When you have prayed every prayer you know how to pray – STAND. When you feel like there is no reason for hope like Abraham and Sarah felt – STAND. When tears cloud your vision so that you are no longer sure what direction you should be going in – STAND. When you are so weary that the only thing you want to do is lie down and play dead – STAND.
Sometimes all that you need to do is STAND. Sometimes it’s not the walking or even the running that wins the greatest battle. It is standing firm, immovable, consistent, unshakeable, refusing to give in. These are all words that describe what standing really means. And when you do it in His strength rather than yours as we are commanded in verse 10 of the same chapter, it is possible. When you put on His truth as a belt, when you remind yourself of the salvation that belongs to you (the helmet of salvation), it is possible.
When you keep proclaiming His goodness to those who don’t know Him yet (preaching the gospel of peace) and speak out His word in the face of every circumstance that doesn’t line up with His will (the sword of the Spirit), you can stand. When you hold up that shield of faith it is possible. In Roman times that shield was a weapon the size of a door and coated with hide so that when it was wet could put out the fire on flaming arrows fired by the enemy. Whether those arrows are doubt, delay, disappointment or discouragement, faith in God and His Promises will stop them from harming us.
I don’t know about you but I expect great things from God. To do any less would be to reduce Him to the level of ordinary rather than the Omnipotent, Almighty, All-sufficient one that He is. This view of God requires me to constantly look beyond what I see and feel in the here and now to what He has promised, that is yet to happen. My word for this year is ‘promise’. I constantly need to hold on to His promises with every limb that I have.
While standing may not always be easy, it does have tremendous rewards. As you and I stand we become witnesses of His faithfulness; monuments of His glory and goodness. Where others would have fallen, we stand. Never in our own strength, but in His unfailing one – fully persuaded like Abraham, that God is able and willing to do what He has promised that He will do.
Standing, we give praise and glory to God, in expectation of the victory that Jesus’ resurrection has won for us. Linking arms with other Christians, we stand unshakeable until the enemy of our souls is defeated and the world sees the glory of the Father as it rises upon us.
Having done all, stand.
Will you stand with me? Will you put on your own armour and hold up that shield of faith that both defensive as well as offensive? Let’s pray for one another as we stand.
The best really is yet to come.