“That they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”
2 Timothy 2:26 (NIV)
There are times in most of our lives when we feel we are caught in a “perfect storm.”
Pressures, difficulties, and nearly insurmountable challenges seem to come at us from all sides. At times the very people we thought we could depend on were not there for us – and we felt alone. It seems that all seasoned leaders have gone through this kind of storm, and some people have this experience all too often.
“God tested Abraham” (Genesis 22:1)
When leading, it can be common to get through one battle and have the next one come quickly, or we are in the middle of one crisis and we can already see the next “assault” brewing. Frequently we wonder, “What have I done wrong?” or “Is God mad at me?” Some simply walk away feeling defeated and inadequate to do the task.
When experiencing one of these “perfect storms” in my leadership, I came to the conclusion that I simply didn’t know what to do. I reevaluated everything I could think of, looked at decisions I had made, and tried to analyze myself (as well as getting several people’s counsel) in an effort to determine if I had misjudged or made some terrible mistake that caused this challenge. The answer that kept coming back to me from my own analysis as well as from trusted and prayerful friends was that I had been doing the right things and that I just needed to “hold steady” and trust God’s relentless love.
My wife had also decided to “keep trusting God, since He has always been faithful,” to rest in his unfailing wisdom . . . and to leave any vengeance to the Lord. We could already see that He had rescued us, and wondered what He had in store. Looking back – we can see God’s protection, His plan, and the fact that He had wonderful open doors for us.
God’s love includes a persistent aspect where he is growing us and preparing us for battle; where He’s developing our character, our depth, our patience, and our understanding. Paul explained to Timothy that leaders needed to “first be tested” (1 Timothy 3:10) before being given the responsibility to lead.
At times God’s love permits one trial after another . . . maybe a trial, then a test, then another trial, etc. Peter reminds us that, “now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold . . . may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6b – 7).
There are situations where God will wait and watch for the right timing . . . while He observes us in the struggle as we grow in our trust and dependence on Him . . . and as our attention to our feelings becomes less important. We may get impatient, but He is doing an important work in our lives, and is bringing all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). Also, “He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).
Please know that His relentless love always is there to protect us when needed . . . while we become stronger in our walk with Him, and better leaders in our own right. He will come to our aide quickly; send angels to defend us, and to perform miracles on our behalf (stop the sun, split the sea, bring fear to the enemy, etc.).
He also knows that we need to “walk by faith” . . . faith that we are created in His image; that we are children of God; that we are gifted with tremendous abilities, and that the enemy will flee from us if he knows that we “really” resist him in the name of the Lord.
We must grow strong. We must become complete in Christ. Our very lives depend on it. Walking in our potential comes through discipline and holding steady in spite of the circumstances.
Many become “stuck” and fearful, and run from other people and the enemy. Many yield to temptation or rebound into some kind of negative, destructive behavior. Our goal must be to become “unstuck” while becoming dependent on our Creator . . . in everything.
His indescribable love desperately desires us to be who we were created to be . . . strong, loving, dependent, trusting children of God.
Perhaps, as a leader, you need to trust God more than those you lead. I have often watched great leaders go through tremendous trials all the while keeping a kind, gracious attitude of contentment and trust. Watching them has encouraged me to do the same.
Trials, tests, difficulties, challenges, insurmountable circumstances can all be our friends. They help us trust our Lord who is always watching and preparing us for the tasks and battles we have in our future.
We can be sure of this, “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
You are a leader! Leadership is developed. Maturity and wisdom come to us over time. God’s love allows and trusts you to grow as you walk in His calling on your life.
Always know that I am . . .