When I pray for God to help me with a problem, I want Him to grab me and throw me on the other side of the problem. Then, I want to pick myself up, dust myself off, and run as far away from the problem as I can.
In my experience, God has never dealt with me that way. In fact, it’s been just the opposite.
Whenever I ask for God’s help with a problem, He takes me directly to the problem. We don’t avoid anything. By His leading and in His power, we are led to face our issues head on.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say I have falling out with a friend. (I know, with my gentle personality you’re thinking this would never happen. Like I said, it’s just an example.) But let’s say it did happen.
And I pray, “Lord, help me restore my relationship with my friend.” I’m hoping Jesus will just give me a good feeling in my heart. You know, a deep warmness in my chest filled with good feelings toward my friend.
That’s not what happens. Nope, God will lead me to all kinds of situations where I will find myself with that friend. The Lord will then open the door for an honest conversation about our friendship, what happened, and how we move forward. And yes, it usually involves an apology from me. God won’t let me run from it. I can’t escape it. He forces me to deal with it.
It took me a long time to understand this, but I finally got it. Do you know why God does that? He does it so you never have to be afraid of it again. You’ve dealt with it. You’ve done what you needed to do and said what you needed to say. It’s over. You’re now free to move on.
Did you know there was an early teaching in the church that claimed God tricked Satan in the crucifixion and resurrection? The story goes that God promised Satan the body of Jesus in exchange for all of the souls of world, and then, at the last minute, He snatched Jesus back. Like I said, it was a heresy in the early church, but if Jesus only tricked death, then what happens the next time death finds us?
No, the good news of the gospel is that Christ defeated death. That’s why we don’t have to be afraid of death anymore. The battle’s been fought. The victory has been won by Jesus. It’s over.
The Hebrew children went through the Red Sea, not around it. We walk through the valley of the shadow of death, not close by it. In each moment, God in Christ Jesus saves us through it, not from it.
That way, we never have to be afraid. We can move on. It’s over. That’s why Jesus always saves us through it, but never from it.