Finish the Test
Have you ever been in a battle season and wondered why the Lord didn't pull you out of it sooner? I'm not just talking about a singular battle, but a season of warfare that seems to have no end in sight. This may sound odd, but I challenge you to not ask for an early dismissal.
I don't reach back to the pleasant seasons of my life to find lessons I learned to share and teach someone else how to fight. No, I re-trace my steps back to a time when it seemed I was flying into turbulence no matter which direction I took. It was a season of intense warfare like I had never faced before, and it left such an impression on me spiritually that I have never been the same.
How often do we say "Amen" to a statement about living by faith under fire, yet the moment the flames get close we would much rather back up and take a different route? We can say that we have faith all day long, but it is proven in the fire. We can quote, "Resist the devil, and he will flee," but our words must be tested in the battle ring.
I am sure that I have mentioned this Scripture before concerning this, because it is one of my favorites...but there is something about this story that portrays so clearly the act of staying in the fire. Shadrach and his friends were thrown into the flames because they didn't shrink back in fear during the battle season. They stood by faith, no matter how close they were to the flames. What I love so much about their victory is the fact that the king had to call them out of the furnace! They didn't want to hurry out of the test, because they were in there with the Lord.
I challenge you to not be in a hurry to just get out of the battle, but to allow Him to teach you how to fight. I challenge you to not be in a hurry to get away from the flames, but to learn that it is the bondage that goes in with you that gets consumed in the fire. I challenge you to not be in a hurry to get the test over with...but to find out that the more the heat gets turned up, the closer the Teacher stands with you.
Father, it is true that the battle seasons and the fiery trials are hard and uncomfortable, but it is these seasons that refine us and train us. Don't let us back away too soon from the battle, but help us to cling to You throughout it. In Jesus' Name. Amen.