Contending

February 8, 2020
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Habakkuk 3:17-19 – Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places. (ESV)

There are situations in which I am robbed of my peace because I have little say in the outcome, such as when I was dealing with faceless officialdom that takes weeks of calls and letters to resolve. Life can get a bit stressful for me.

My character is one that if I think I am right, I will not let go. Like a small terrier dog with a bone, I growl both outwardly and inwardly to God and anyone else who stops to listen. Out of the window goes my peace. I am exasperated; frustrated at others' miasma, I find myself powerless in my own strength to do much other than to represent the truth.

Meanwhile, God waits for me to seek Him, to call Him into the situation. He knows me, understands me, teaches me, hears my prayers, and cares for my circumstances and situation.

During the same weeks, the tax man was demanding money with menaces, when eventually he admitted that he was in error. It was compounded by our microwave cooker breaking down, forcing us to contend also with the insurance company that took weeks not to fix it, and then eventually agreed to send a replacement!

Although I have had the victory now as I write, over the previous weeks life has not been a bundle of laughs. I knew that God was with me, but I still cried out, and the growl continued because, without resolution, we did not have the cash to spend on everyday essentials. There is other more personal stuff, but you get picture: life happens.

These events happen for a reason. Sometimes, it is my fault, sometimes not, and frankly, sometimes, I believe that it is a move of the enemy to attempt to isolate us, undermine us, or at worst, destroy our relationship with Jesus.

I get suggestions that belittle our prayer life as a waste of time, purely because — and for no other reason than — we are praying and interceding for ourselves, those around us or in the community, or the happenings of the world at large.

In the kingdom of heaven, it is different; we are noticed; our prayers are heard; prayer changes things. So, I continue interceding, contending in prayer for and with others, because in Jesus, it makes a difference for us, this world, and God's kingdom.

When we are bowed down, in the midst of contending, He comes and lifts us up from the mire and lightens the burden. He walks with us, and as we let Him, He will carry the load. Finally, His Spirit's peace will cause the growling to cease, and His walk with us through the storm, our shield and defender, brings triumph — even over the fear of death.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for being patient with us in our follies and wilfulness. We humbly bow the knee and praise You as our Saviour and our future hope in times of trouble. Forgive us for our failings, and grant in us a deeper disclosure of Your love for us, so that we can soak in this revelation and carry it with us as we go. May it spill over into the meetings that we have ahead today, in, through, and for the name of Jesus. Amen.


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About the author:

Rod Marshall <roderickmarshall@yahoo.com>
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you.


    Thanks for the encouragement, Rod.


    Thanks, Rod. We’ve walked similar paths lately!


    Thanks for writing about your life and faith, Rod. Blessings on your walk with God today.


    Thank you, Rod, for sharing this meaningful and encouraging devotional with us. Blessings.


    Lots of spiritual and practical application we can relate to. I appreciate your work because it helps my understanding of the Christian life.


    We always, if the microwave cooker is broken, have to go out to eat although now my husband got a toaster oven and HE cooks lots of things in it.
    (ON)


    To Roderick Marshall,
    Now that’s a really full devotional! May God continue to bless you with such great thoughts, and please continue to share them with us, for Jesus sake. Amen.


    What a good message, Rod, on trusting God and “hanging in there” in faithfulness and because of His. Your description of the kingdom of heaven is beautiful!
    Blessings in Christ,
    (BC)


    Hello Rod,
    Thanks for submitting another very mindful devotional. Our Lord truly is the one in command and our faith and trust in Him brings about the best results for our situations.
    Blessings for your faithfulness.
    (B.C.)


    Thank you. Your words help me this morning in cold. I was bitten by a dog last month and it is preventing me from going to do humanitarian work in Ecuador. I am at peace with this today and your words helped deepen my resolve and decision.
    Thank you again Rod, for your words and for listening to me.


    Hi Rod,
    It is always so good to read your Devotional’s. Today I really needed it. We have been dealing with a lot of deaths lately ranging from 46 down to 8 years of age. One little girl has only a few weeks left.
    I know God is near not only to us but especially to the families and friends of these dear souls.
    I hope and pray all will be well with you and your family in England.
    God bless you my brother in Christ.


    Good to hear from you again. Habakkuk 3:17-19 is my husband’s and myself life verse. When life got tough and fear crept in, we put these verses on our walls and desk. We still re-read them for encouragement. God is indeed good, all the time. Amen.
    (Tx)


    Some days even weeks things seem in a big tangled mess.
    I write all of it in my journal, and hand it over.
    A week later I marvel at how it has gotten untangled.
    The Spirit has been at work.
    Thanks, for sharing your experience.

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