Have you recently felt like you were up against the wall?
Maybe it would be better described as between a rock and a hard place.
The Apostle Paul describes it this way in 2 Corinthians 4:8 NIV: We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair.
Oh boy! This week I sure felt like I was hard pressed.
Paul acknowledged that he was hard pressed…on every side. Do you identify? Some days, weeks, or months can feel like that. When there are no answers, when there is no cure, when we have no place to turn, when we feel backed into a corner…we are hard pressed.
Did you notice that Paul goes on to say, but not crushed. Okay. Right now I feel like I’m between the arms of the vise and the crank is turning. And turning. The pressure has increased.
What keeps us from being crushed when the pressure is so great?
How can we be perplexed, but not in despair?
First, I am no expert. All I can say is that I am, step by step, journeying. Through? Not yet.
What do I have, what do you have, that keeps us from being crushed or in despair?
Uh huh. That’s it.
Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16 CEV
Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. Ephesians 6:13-16 MSG
There it is. Did you notice it?
Faith. It is one of the weapons God has issued.
Have you ever thought about that before?
If you have faith. How many times have we heard or read it? We think it’s something that we need to conjure up on our own. I think it’s like holding our breath and scrunching up the face and gritting down with all we have. If we do this then we’ll muster up faith. We think. Aren’t we silly people? Why do we always think it’s about us?
God already provided this faith.
It doesn’t come by anything we do. We just need to stand behind it. Did you know that the Roman soldiers had shields that were so massive that the shield alone was their protection and it was soaked in water so that the spears or arrows of flaming pitch wouldn’t keep burning?
I’d like to tell you that this week I stood firmly behind this massive weapon God provided. But, no, I got out from behind the shield and the lying arrows of doubt pierced and burned me. Despair awaited. When I retreated behind the shield, though I was perplexed I was not in despair.
Paul goes on to write this to the Ephesians in verses 16-18: God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
Those days when I flagged….I didn’t pray long and hard. We can never under estimate the power in our prayer time.
James 5:16b NIrV: The prayer of a godly person is powerful. It makes things happen. (Emphasis mine.)
This is probably one of my favorite verses to teach kids. They ‘get’ it. Our prayers really do make things happen.
When we immerse ourselves in God’s Word, when we pray, we will stand behind the shield of faith–God’s faith–God’s weapon, provided for us.
Can you picture yourself standing behind the shield of faith?
What are the spears and arrows the enemy is flinging at you? Picture those lies flaming out when they hit your shield. Ahhh….it feels better already doesn’t it?
That’s how Paul could be hard pressed and not crushed, perplexed and not in despair. He allowed God’s armor to take the hit for him. As I tap in these letters and words, I am nearly overcome with emotion. I realize…God has made a way. He doesn’t want me to stand in the battle unarmed or unprotected. He wants me to pray…to have faith. The faith that he has already provided.
Peterson, in The Message (Hebrews 11:1), explains it well: The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.
Faith…it’s the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living.
When we aren’t crushed and in despair…we want to live…we have purpose….we have Hope….we have a future.
What are your challenges?
Where are you in this picture?
What help have you found in these Bible passages?
What are you going to do?
Shall we give thanks to this loving God who provided a way for us? For this shield of faith?
It’s Joy Day!
It’s the day when we take time to count ‘seven’ things and give thanks. Some of the things are obvious wonderful blessings. Other things are hard or hurtful. We are asked to give thanks for ALL things. Please join me in counting ‘seven.’
I thank God for…
- peonies…gorgeous shades of ruffed pinks with a sweet spicy scent
- blue and brown fresh eggs and the praying friend who brought them
- discovering a cast-off clam shell to glam up
- envelopes with hard words arriving in my mailbox
- the shield of faith
- free ferns from the property being demolished
- a friend who knows
It’s your turn! Scroll down to ‘Share Your Thoughts’ below and tap in your ‘seven.’ Joy will come. It just does. God does something incredible in our hearts when we start counting. You might not want to stop. You just might want to take the Joy Dare here.
Giving thanks for the shield of faith!
P.S. Join me here again at 7 p.m. EDT (Sunday) for Monday Funday. It’s an amazing link party filled with fabulous inspiration…DIY’s, recipes, home decor, and much more. I am so very blessed to be guest hosting this fun party with 5 very talented ladies. See you again then!!
P.P.S. Those photos aren’t of tropical blossoms. Nope. They are Tulip Tree Blossoms. Aren’t they magnificent?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
LoriKArt + A Holy Experience + My Fresh Brewed Life + Weekly Top Shot