What can you do when life throws you an obstacle that you feel you cannot overcome? When the storm rises and the darkness surrounds you, it’s natural to start being afraid and as you look at your difficult circumstances, the cold fog of fear and despair start to make your life an absolute misery.
How can you conquer your problems?
A valuable trick I’ve learnt is to remember the victories God has given me. I have faced many problems in my life, but God has consistently rescued me from those difficulties. And for those problems that are still there, God has given me the grace to be patient, so that I can endure those difficulties.
I literally have a victory file in my computer. I write down every victory that God has granted me, so when I face a difficulty, I can look at that file and remind myself that the God who has rescued me in the past, is able and willing to help me in the present. I find myself greatly encouraged by all the testimonies that I’ve written about how God has delivered me and this turns my focus away from the difficulties of my challenge, and on the awesome rescuing power of God.
A favourite song of mine is by Steven Curtis Chapman, “My Redeemer is Faithful and True”. The first verse goes:
“As I look back on this road I’ve travelled
I see so many times He’s carried me through
And if there’s one thing that I’ve learnt in my life
My Redeemer is faithful and true”
By looking back on the road you’ve travelled and reminding yourself of how God has faithfully taken care of you, you will have ammunition against the Enemy. Your mouth can be filled with praise and thanksgiving for all the good times that God has rescued you, instead of focusing on how your present challenge might destroy you.
Remembering God’s victories is something we have to actively work on, as in our natural selves, we tend to have short memories and only react to what we are facing in the present moment. You may have experienced God’s blessings for a month, but when an obstacle comes up, all you can focus on is the obstacle in the moment and you quickly forget what God has done for you in the past.
The Israelites had this terrible short memory and displeased God with their forgetfulness. When Moses led them out of Egypt, God performed an amazing miracle, parting the Red Sea so they could walk on dry land with the waters like towering walls on their side, and then drowning their enemy Pharaoh’s army in the sea. In Exodus 15, we hear them praising God –
“I will sing to the Lord,
for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver
he has hurled into the sea. “
But we find in the next immediate chapter, Exodus 16, the Israelites quickly forgot about how God’s greatness and goodness would provide for them and they descended into bitter grumbling:
The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. 2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.
Within two months, the Israelites had forgotten about the amazing victory that God has granted them! We must guard our minds so that we are not similarly forgetful, but always remind ourselves of God’s love and delivering power.
As for me, I am making the habit of going to my victory file to combat one of my neurotic fears. One of the things that Satan always tempts me to worry about is whether I’ll be able to get a taxi to go where I need to go. So far, God has always provided me with the transport that I needed – praise Him! – but I still find myself tempted to worry that I’ll be stuck somewhere with no means to go where I need to go. One thing which I put in my victory file is an incident that occurred when I was due to go to Bible Study from work on one Friday night. It was raining torrentially. I tried calling for a cab but couldn’t even get through to the system, all the lines were jammed. I had resigned myself to taking the bus and being super-late for Bible Study when a lady and some of her friends stepped out from the lobby. Since I needed to take public transport, I asked the lady if she knew how to get to Bishan MRT train station. The lady gave me the directions then mentioned that she was taking a cab to the MRT train station. I asked her if she would be willing to let me share the cab with her and she agreed. So when the cab arrived, we dropped her off at the MRT station and I took the cab the rest of the way to the home where my Bible Study was being held. Now, I always remember this example of good fortune, which I didn’t expect, to remind myself that God will provide me with the good fortune to get the transport I need if I trust in Him.
Thus I would encourage you to start your own victory file. Writing down your major victories helps you remember them, but a daily habit of thanking God for his help will also show great benefits. Remember all the good things that He’s done for you, so that when the storm hits, you’ll have the shelter of His love to run to.
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