If I am going to be locked down in any one location, I want it to be in God’s presence!
By Ibrahim Omondi
The stability of the world is being threatened right now to a degree that most of us have not experienced in our lifetimes. Much of the news around us is not good. It causes us to worry. Maybe we are concerned about our health, our future, our jobs, or our families.
We would never ask for such a difficult situation to come. But when all this happens, it is not intended to destroy us but to bring us to the next stage of growth in the Lord. In this case, I believe God is calling His bride to a higher level. We must endure the difficulty, and make it through. We know that Jesus did. God has no easier way to promote us and bring us to victory than the way He did it for His Son.
Times of pain or death often signify a time of change or transition. God moves us from one place to another. Difficult moments are experiences that we can reject, or opportunities we can embrace.
We should never think, when times are hard, that we are forgotten. God knows it all. When we have passed one test, He will give us the next assignment. We need to be pliable. If we are not ready to cooperate, we delay the process and the season of training is prolonged. But we can move faster through the levels of learning if we cooperate with what God is doing.
Do you want to change from a worrier to a warrior? God can do that for you. But you need to meet God. In Genesis 32, we see that Jacob was afraid to meet his brother. He was worried. Plan to wrestle with God. Whenever we have an encounter with God, we have to change. Jacob had to change. After a night of wrestling God, Jacob was no longer a deceiver; he would become a father of nations. The result of his encounter was a blessing not only to himself, but to generations to come.
God Will Meet with You
- Have a wrestling match with God. Take time to pray. Recognize that the worrying is not good for you. It takes away peace. Instead of worry, offer the problem to God. Do business with God.
- Magnify the Lord. When you magnify something, other things become smaller. We are told to magnify the Lord (Psalm 34:3). When you magnify the Lord, you minimize the problems of this world. God is bigger! He is more than enough. Greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world (I John 4:4)! When we magnify the Lord, He reaches out. The angel of the Lord camps around those who fear Him.
- Change your dwelling place. Psalm 91 has become a favorite psalm for prayer as we face the threat of COVID-19. The psalmist says in verse one, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will abide under the (protective) shadow of the Almighty.” In order to be in someone’s shadow, you have to be very close to them. God is truly delivering us from the present pestilence, which is defined as “a fatal epidemic disease.” Dwell. Abide. As we do that, God does so many things for us.
What about the times when we cannot seem to move from where we are in order to enter the dwelling place of the Lord? One of the best ways to get unstuck is by forgiving.
The Forgiveness Key
Jesus prayed on the cross, “Father, forgive them.”
I remember a story told by Dave Hess, a friend of the DOVE International family, about a time in his life when he was discouraged and bitter. One Sunday he was sitting—or better, hiding—at the back of the church. A word came to him through a boy with Down’s syndrome. He said, “You are a pastor.” Dave knew this had to be God. When he heard those words, he broke down weeping and was reminded of areas of unforgiveness in his heart. As he forgave those who had hurt him, he was answering God’s call on his life for ministry. But taking that step required forgiveness.
Another powerful testimony of forgiveness comes from the nation of India. A young lady who was crippled, with twisted legs, wanted prayer for healing. This woman had been beaten and abused as a child. When prayed for, she began to cry, “I forgive her. I forgive her.” When she freed herself to forgive those who had hurt her, she received physical healing. The twisted legs became straight and she was able to walk! Forgiveness was the key.
When we do not forgive, we are actually locking ourselves in prison. We belong to that person who has wronged us. We are their prisoners. Without forgiveness, your future is controlled by the person who wounded you.
Where do you dwell? In your pain? Are you stuck in some of the bad things that have happened to you?
When we go through hard times, we might start to doubt God’s love. This is just one more lie that the enemy uses to keep us in that prison cell. Apostle John was known as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” When this disciple was in Patmos, he had visions of heaven that are well documented in the book of Revelation. Patmos, however, was a terrible place. The Roman soldiers knew very well how to mistreat prisoners! John was there because of His stand for Jesus. Yet he was the very disciple identified as the disciple Jesus loved. Even in the devastating situation, God still loved Him. And in our devastation, God of course still loves us.
We might see our current problems as great afflictions. God sees them as light afflictions. Check out 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 for a healthy godly perspective. “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” This pandemic and other problems around us are temporary. What God can do for us as we respond to Him is eternal.
After Christ experienced the cross, His position was changed. He returned to the Father. We also need to change our position. It might mean dying to something so that Christ can bring new life.
Suffering is not meant to destroy us, but to draw us closer to God. In this season, may we draw close to the Lord. As we do, He promises to draw near to us as stated in James 4:8, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
If I am going to be locked down in any one location, I want it to be in God’s presence! What a precious dwelling place it is.
About Ibrahim Omondi
Ibrahim serves on the DOVE International Apostolic Council along with his wife, Diane. They also serve as the DOVE Africa apostolic team leaders overseeing over 200 churches in six nations of Africa. Read about Ibrahim or peruse their blog.