Summary: Whether, I am on the mountain top or in the valley God is with me!!
Hebrews 11:33-40-who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight (Swift Passages) the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again.
Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.
Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment.
They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—
of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.
And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
Did you noticed some breezed thru this life, they conquered every enemy, every problem but others didn’t fare so well on this old earth, they weren’t on top of the world, the world was on top of them!
But look what it says:
And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith!
And these all, having obtained a good report through faith
Paul, the only stock and bonds he ever had was…Stocks on his feet and bonds on his wrist!
It wasn’t till Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego was in the fire, that Nebuchadnezzar seen Jesus!
Sometimes people don’t see Jesus in our lives, in our hearts till they see us in a fiery trial!!!
Grace is God drawing sinners closer and closer to him. How does God in grace prosecute this purpose?
Not by shielding us from assault by the work, the flesh, and the devil, nor by protecting us from burdensome and frustrating circumstance, not yet by shielding us from troubles created by our own temperament and psychology, but rather by exposing us to all these things, so as to overwhelm us with a sense of our own inadequacy, and to drive us to cling to him more closely.
This is the ultimate reason, from our standpoint, why God fills our lives with troubles and perplexities of one sort and another -- it is to ensure that we shall learn to hold him fast. The reason why the Bible spends so much of its time reiterating that God is a strong rock, a firm defense, and a sure refuge and help for the weak is that God spends so much of his time showing us that we are weak, both mentally and morally, and dare not trust ourselves to find or follow the right road.
When we walk along a clear road feeling fine, and someone takes our arm to help us, likely we would impatiently shake him off; but when we are caught in rough country in the dark, with a storm brewing and our strength spent, and someone takes our arm to help us, we would thankfully lean on him. And God wants us to feel that our way through life is rough and perplexing, so that we may learn to lean on him thankfully.
Therefore He takes steps to drive us out of self-confidence to trust in Him.
James Packer, Your Father Loves You, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986.