Finishing well. . . I’ve been asking the Lord what that looks like. Recently a friend and fellow minister announced his ministry’s 25th year anniversary. He got me to thinking.
For those of us who have been “in the trenches” just as Paul says, we have “fought wild beasts at Ephesus” so to speak as we have encountered the demonic and satan’s many hindrances to our ministries. At times we have grown tired of seeing the enemy take advantage of the bad choices those we minister to have sometimes made. Why is satan allowed to do so much? Aren’t we all praying against his work?
Once, in a situation where it looked like the enemy was prevailing, I asked the Lord in a frustrated tone, “Why don’t you shorten satan’s chain so that he can’t interfere so much?”
I believe the Lord spoke to my spirit and said, “Won’t heaven be wonderful? Not only will he (satan) not be there, but your flesh won’t be there either.” It was a reminder that my flesh-based frustration was likewise a problem. “Oh” I said. . .I say that a lot to Him as He graciously relates truth to me!
When I was a little girl, about 8 years old, I experienced a situation that highlighted for me a belief in the strength of the Lord in the midst of having no confirming evidence. I was told something bad was going to happen and the men that surrounded me mockingly asked me, “Why don’t you call on your God and ask Him to stop us?”
I prayed silently that my God would stop what they were going to do to me. But He didn’t stop them. Afterwards, as the men continued to mock God, they asked me “Why didn’t He stop us? Isn’t He strong enough?”
I answered with a depth of conviction that I am sure did not come from a little 8 year olds fledgling faith (I was saved when I was 7) but from the faithfulness of His Spirit. I looked up at those who were mocking and said, “I don’t know why He didn’t stop you, but I still choose Him!”
“I still choose Him!” I think this is the bottom line when those perplexing situation happen and it looks like the enemy is winning. Or when we frankly, just get tired of fighting. I think that’s also one aspect of “finishing well” – that of insisting on living a life of faith – with or without external “visual” confirmation.
Yes, sometimes God chooses to nullify satan’s power. Sometimes He doesn’t. Either way, He is still the King and I still choose Him!