Hope for the Battle Weary
MAY 16, 2019
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 (NIV)
Do you ever worry that all of your hard times and suffering will be for nothing? That all of this pain you keep trying to press through is completely and utterly pointless?
I deeply understand that kind of fear and fatigue. What it’s like to pray the same prayers over and over, with little to no change, all while the disappointments linger on and on.
That’s why I wish I could give you a gift today. It’s actually one I received myself in the middle of the most heartbreaking season of my marriage.
When Art and I realized our marriage wasn’t going to make any progress without some professional help, we started seeing an amazing counselor. We spent more than 75 hours in his office. It was all with the understanding that we were on the same page, moving ahead together. All the devastation would be repaired, restored and made right.
But during one of our sessions, my counselor knew we’d leave his office and walk into one of the fiercest seasons of this battle. He took a professionally done frame off his office wall and tore the backing to open it. He pulled out a real purple heart, the high honor the government gave his family when his brother-in-law was killed in the line of duty, trying to save others.
Then he knelt in front of us and placed this priceless medal in my hand.
“Hold on to this, Lysa, for as long as you need it. When the battle gets so fierce you wonder if you will survive, remember this moment of my telling you that you will make it through this. If God gave out purple hearts, you would absolutely receive this high honor. What you are going through won’t be for nothing. Your hurt will not be wasted. It will be for the saving of many lives.”
Speechless, I looked down at this beautifully outrageous gift. The moment stole all my words, and I had nothing to offer back to him but tears. I mouthed the words, “thank you.” I felt brave that day.
Less than a month after we returned home from that counseling appointment, my heart was devastated again.
I couldn’t breathe. The medal was the only physical thing I felt I could hold, when every bit of my life was flying around as shattered debris. I thought we were almost done with that horrific season, and then I realized we hadn’t even started the healing.
And while that purple heart couldn’t heal me, it sure steadied me for the next two years, as Art and I did the hard work to put our marriage back together again.
I want to be that friend who helps steady you today, sweet sister. Because I know what it’s like to feel battle-weary.
I’m sure Joseph, the speaker in our key verse, was familiar with feelings of discouragement and fatigue. How could you be thrown into a pit by your family, sold into slavery and then unfairly imprisoned … without wondering if any good could ever come of your story?
But God had a plan. From pit to palace, Joseph was positioned to spare not only the lives of his family, but the entire nation of Israel. This is why his words to his brothers in Genesis 50:20 are such a beautiful picture of redemption and hope: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
God has a plan for your life, too. The enemy is going to try to trip you and rip you to shreds with the hurtful hisses that all of this suffering is for nothing. Don’t you dare listen.
I’m holding a purple heart in my hand that tells me something different. And it’s not just for me. It’s for you, too. I knew it the minute the counselor put it in my hand, it should be pinned on your chest, too. And if you were here with me today, I’d do just that. I would remind you that your story, surrendered into the hands of God, will not be wasted.
Close your eyes and breathe. You’re brave, beautiful and hand-picked. A decorated soldier in this horrible battle with a glorious ending. I’m declaring over you that the Lord will restore you, redeem you and write His glorious story onto the pages of your life. The journey might not look anything like you planned, but I’m believing with you that God is working things out in ways you cannot yet see.
The day of atonement
By: Charles Spurgeon
“This shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year.” Leviticus 16:34
Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 9:6-14
Jesus Christ “died, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God.” That day of atonement happened only once a year, to teach us that only once should Jesus Christ die; and that though he would come a second time, yet it would be without a sin offering unto salvation. The lambs were perpetually slaughtered; morning and evening they offered sacrifice to God, to remind the people that they always needed a sacrifice; but the day of atonement being the type of the one great propitiation, it was but once a year that the high priest entered within the veil with blood as the atonement for the sins of the people. And this was at a certain set and appointed time; it was not left to the choice of Moses, or to the convenience of Aaron, or to any other circumstance which might affect the date; it was appointed to be on a peculiar set day, as you find at the 29th verse: “In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month;” and at no other time was the day of atonement to be, to show us that God’s great day of atonement was appointed and predestined by himself. Christ’s expiation occurred but once, and then not by any chance; God had settled it from before the foundation of the world; and at that hour when God had predestined, on that very day that God had decreed that Christ should die, he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers, he was dumb. It was but once a year, because the sacrifice should be once; it was at an appointed time in the year, because in the fulness of time Jesus Christ should come into the world to die for us.
For meditation: Daily and annual sacrifices of animals could never bring salvation from sin—that required only the single sacrifice of Christ on a single day (Zechariah 3:9; 12:10; 13:1; Hebrews 9:25,26; 10:11,12).
From: Sermons for Men
Recommended Reading: Proverbs 29:23; Romans 6:12–14; Ephesians 6:11–18
You knew that guy in high school—the guy with all the money, the looks, the clothes and the fastest car. He was the popular one, the guy everyone liked to hang out with, the one who was a lock for being voted “Most Likely to Succeed.” But instead of taking advantage of all these advantages, he decided to spend his time chasing girls and partying, to the dismay of his parents and the ruin of his GPA.
Trust Fund Babies. College playboys. Frat-house social committee chairmen. To direct these terms at other guys is to accuse them of riding Daddy’s coattails and to call into question their work ethic and the seriousness with which they take life. Those who have less in the world can only scratch their heads and wonder what they could do with the same perks.
Now, this is a stereotype, to be sure. A few bad apples don’t spoil the whole barrel in this case. But as we can’t think back on that one guy and not wonder what happened, so also we can’t read the story of Samson and not wonder what went haywire.
Mighty Samson, who has never lost a battle, is captured by a woman, tortured by his enemies and enslaved until his death. The mighty warrior who has killed scores of his enemies with rudimentary tools and with his bare hands trips up on the most obvious of ploys. The one who was to be dedicated to God’s service for the purpose of saving his people ends up in bondage to the very people he was intended to conquer.
What was he thinking? How could he have subjected himself to this kind of trickery? Didn’t Delilah ask him repeatedly about the secret of his strength, and couldn’t he see where this was leading? Did he forget that the Philistines had come into her house and tried to capture him on a number of occasions? Or did he just enjoy playing this game, knowing he couldn’t lose?
The sad fact is that Samson was just as human as you and I. He allowed his eyes to lead him astray, and he allowed his pride to strategize for him. In some sense he was a victim of his own success—and he learned the hard way that even a slugger with a perfect batting average can strike out when it matters most.
So what can we learn from Samson’s story today? Were you the one in high school who squandered your advantages and made foolish choices? Can you think back on times when you deliberately disobeyed what you knew to be God’s will for your life—and paid the price? If so, gain encouragement from the end of Samson’s story. God gave him a second chance to show that he was God’s man, and Samson struck a crippling blow to his enemies. God also gives us more chances than we can count to return to him and rededicate ourselves to his mission in the world.