“For the battle is not yours, but God’s” 2 Chronicles 20:15b
I thought I knew perseverance until I was forced to walk through a trial I could not avoid.
After a long and bitter divorce, my new marriage marked the beginning of a 7-year custody battle. At the time I would have done anything to avoid the uninvited journey – anything but give up my child.
There were unbearable moments. All I could see were the odds stacking up against me as mountains of subpoenas, court orders and attorney fees. All I could taste was fear in waves of tears and nausea. It quickly became clear shrewd attorneys, wise counselors and an honest judge were not enough to bring peace. My best ideas and comprehensive testimonies did not quench the fire. I needed power greater than my own.
I thought I knew how much God loved me and I thought I trusted him, until the threat of my child being ripping out of my arms allowed such incomprehensible love to pierce the core of my heart. God showed me in His Word that we are not to place our trust in men who cannot save [Psa 146:3]. I learned the battle was the Lord’s [2 Chron 20:15b], I could accomplish nothing without Him and anything was possible with Him [Mark 10:27].
So, if the battle is the Lord’s why didn’t He stop it and what was my role? I wanted freedom from the trial, but God wanted to show me his love through it. Freedom from the trial would release me from pain that was driving me out of my weakness and into His strength. My role was to stand on His promises in the face of opposition. I learned to stand. I learned to persevere.
If we were going to do things God’s way, I decided to constantly remind Him of His own words. So, while I was standing I called on God to fulfill every promise I could find written in His Word. A few favorites… “Lord, you ransom me unharmed from this battle waged against me.” [Psalm 55:18] “You contend with those who contend me with and save my child.” [Isaiah 49:25]
I learned that persevering is putting one foot in front of the other knowing if I faint He will new my strength. [Isaiah 40:31] It is moving forward with our eternal God, proclaiming “If I perish, I perish,” for He conquered death. [Esther 4:16]
For many years my circumstances did not change, but my belief did. Peace was my countenance during many hours on the witness stand. I did not fear the jury and their powerful decision over my future with my child. My child was in their hands, but they were in God’s. I prayed for them. I grew shrewd as a serpent and innocent as a dove. [Isaiah 40:31]
Just as God returned Isaac back to Abraham after his demonstration of faith through obedience, the trial ended and my daughter was handed back to me. He restored peace in my life, which resonated with the peace already established in my heart.
Without this trial I would not have understood the sacrifice God made when giving his only son away to earth to die for me.
What trial are you enduring? What could you miss if you give up?