(These hostile enemies of Israel) were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses.
We know the Lord could easily erase every struggle and make our lives smooth sailing into glory. But He allows it to “rain on the just and the unjust”. Christians get sick, have money problems, relational stresses, auto accidents, are victims in tragedies, on and on. In fact, as one first century accuser said, “You Christians have more problems than the average person. How can you believe a God who takes such poor care of you in this life is able to take care of you in the life to come?”
The answer given to that Roman skeptic, which by the way, brought him to salvation, is illustrated in this passage in Judges. Why is the devil allowed to run around and cause such pain and grief? Why are wicked people allowed to do wicked things? Why even are Christians allowed to hurt and abuse other Christians?
The answer given by the first century believer was “it is warfare”. God is testing us to give us opportunity to obey commands such as “trust in the Lord with all your heart”, commands such as “bless those who persecute you and pray for those who mistreat you”, commands such as “love your enemies”. How could we do any of these things if we were never abused, had no enemies or never had struggles we need to trust God through?
A boy who felt sorry for a butterfly he saw struggling to get out of its cocoon carefully took a knife and cut the butterfly free only to watch it emerge and die. You see, the struggle forces blood into the tiny vessels of the butterfly’s wings which make the wings rigid and enable it to fly. Without the struggle, the butterfly is too weak to survive and dies.
Our struggles prepare us not only for this life but for our future destiny of ruling and reigning with Christ Jesus throughout all eternity. As unpleasant as they are we need to embrace the struggle knowing that the Lord is in it with us. He has not left us nor forsaken us and the struggles are necessary to enable us to fly.
2 Corinthians 12:10
That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Romans 5:3, 4
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
See also: James 1:2-4 & 1 Peter 4:12-13
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