God wastes nothing. Everything you have gone through will turn to His glory! Everything. With your whole life, you are destined to praise Him. “You have heard of the endurance of Job…and the end intended by the Lord!” This gap between the gospel we preach and the gospel we practiceis like a Grand Canyon. We are taunted by our own lack of victory. Paul said that he felt like his life was sometimes on display, “God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men” (1 Cor. 4:9). With a pathway that tracked through imprisonments, beatings, shipwrecks and snake-bites, people must have speculated saying, “What is going on with him? Is he living right?” All the time, failing to see his ‘thorn.’
Jesus embraced the cross, “despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). On the other side of shame, beyond some things that only God and a soul can understand, is certain victory – the Blessing, God’s wonderful favor. We may have done nothing to contribute to our season of barrenness. If we will remain faithful – we will be able to “take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs…in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).
Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Rom. 5:1-2).
And…we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance…and perseverance, character and character, hope (Rom. 5:3-4).
And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. And where does this all lead? We come to “reign in life” (Rom. 5:17).
When a sailboat is facing fierce winds, the experienced sailor has learned the art of the “tack.” He uses the contrary wind. He cannot hardly move forward against headwinds. So, he moves at an angle. The wind almost lays the boat down – the method is called “heeling.” It appears that the vessel will tip into the sea. A 20 degree tack is aggressive in severe winds. First, the sailor moves westward, at a slight angle. Then he moves eastward, at a similar angle. He doesn’t appear to be making any progress, but slowly and surely he is using adverse winds that should push him backward, to move him forward. Back and forth, relentlessly, using the nautical method called tacking, he moves upwind. This is the art of pursing God in the face of the adversary. We never give up. We harness, even the power of the storm that assails us to move forward.
Why does God want to bless? Why are there seasons of favor? It is His nature. It is inherent in His desire to create, to do good. It is a part of His habit of impartation. It is out of His love, His desire to give, His Trinitarian, relational nature. God’s blessing is a value embedded in His covenant. But why does He want to bless you and me? We are members of the bride of Christ, and we are not a widow. We have an adversary that treats us like a widow. The world too shames us for our belief in the resurrected Christ, our hope for His return. And we too feel a sense of lack, so we walk in diminished blessings and live a life that is less than fulfilled in Christ. We often live with less than the abundant life He promised. God desires to move us into favor, into the territory of rich blessings – but not merely for us, but for all who accept and follow Him. Not that we would have a softer and easier life, not primarily. God’s promise is that we would be the benefactors of the undeniable blessing and inexplicable favor of God, be proof to a watching world that we are no widows, that Christ is alive. Proof that He takes care of us. Someone has observed, that the Bible is a record of the character of God and of stories of men, great and small, who learned to trust God – and how that trusting has turned out.
Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child, listen to the DON’TS. Listen to the SHOULDN’TS, the IMPOSSIBLES, the WON’TS. Listen to the NEVER HAVES, then listen close to me. Anything can happen, child, ANYTHING can be.” Shel Silverstein
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P. Douglas Small is founder and president of Alive Ministries: PROJECT PRAY and he serves in conjunction with a number of other organizations. He is also the creator of the Praying Church Movement and the Prayer Trainer’s Network. However, all views expressed are his own and not the official position of any organization.
 Neil Cole, How Many Churches did the Apostle Paul Start? www.churchplanting.com/how-many churches-did-the-apostle-paulstart/#axzz3FDAeiGhU; Accessed October 4, 2014, 135.
 Ibid, 137.
 Bob Sorge, Relentless Prayer, 113.