Victory in the Battle!
George Everard, 1885
"For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted — He is able to support those who are tempted." Hebrews 2:18
It is a great mistake in warfare, to underrate the power of the enemy. Many an army has been worsted and a campaign rendered useless by this error. Sufficient forces have not been sent, or sufficient care taken to meet the attacks or the stratagems of the foe.
Let it not be thus with you in your Christian course. Be prepared for great temptations, nor be surprised when they overtake you. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms!" Ephesians 6:12
You strive with an unwearied foe. Though he fails today, a still more daring attack he may make tomorrow.
But if you may not underrate the power of the enemy, neither may you limit or question the mighty aid by which you may resist him.
The very weakest Christian has Almighty power on his side! Christ is with us and for us — and all power is in His hand. Moreover, Satan is a conquered foe, and in Christ's victory we have a pledge of our own. The adversary tried his utmost to turn Christ aside, but he could not. And as our Head overcame, so shall every one of His members. Let us remember that He sympathizes with each tempted soul —
"He knows what sore temptations mean,
For He has felt the same!"
Be sure that He will not scorn nor despise you, because evil thoughts trouble you. He will not cast you off, because temptation has been too strong for you. In yourself there may be fear and trembling, and you may have to pass through many a painful struggle — but in Him you may ever find mercy, and might, and unchanging faithfulness. And if you will but trust in Him you will find Him very near to you.
I once learned a precious lesson from a little girl. I was walking along a road in my town, when a little girl came walking by my side. I saw that she was not a poor child seeking relief, so I wondered what she needed. After a few moments I bent down and asked her if I could do anything for her; but I only heard a sob. Soon I tried again, and, after a little delay, I just heard the words, "Rough men! So frightened!"
I looked round and saw some railroad workers returning from their work, and I imagine they were not very sober, and had been fighting or quarreling along the way. So I took hold of the child's hand, and inquiring where she lived, I took her to the gate and saw the little girl cheerfully run up the garden and enter the house.
It seemed to me just a type and picture of the way in which a Christian should act in temptation. Go near to Christ, and put confidence in Him. Go and nestle by His side and under His wing, and remember that He cares for you, and will go with you and protect you. Take hold of His hand and tell Him your trouble — and look to Him to go with you every step of your homeward journey. And He will do it. He won't reject your humble suit. He won't turn away from you and leave you. Oh no! He delights in those who flee to Him and trust in Him! He will keep them from their fears and dangers, and bring them to the Father's house in peace.
My young brother, in all your temptations and difficulties, believe that the Lord Jesus is close by you, and look to Him to undertake for you. Believe His presence to be a great reality. You cannot see Him, but He can see you, and uphold and strengthen you in ways you cannot discern. He can reveal to you the danger that may be approaching, as He warned Peter that Satan was about to try Him. He can pre-occupy your thoughts with that which is good, so as to keep out the evil imaginations that arise. He can give you a firm purpose and will to trample down some bait and enticement of the enemy. He can keep you steadfast day by day even to the end. And He can do more than this. By the very temptations you meet with, He can give you increasing humility and faith, and thus draw you nearer to Himself.
Still more than this, will He do for you. Through temptation, He will lead you to deeper joy and comfort. He will enlarge the vessel, and then fill it to overflowing out of His fullness. After the storm there shall be a calm, and with the calm, fresh tokens of a Father's love.
See how it was with Christ Himself. Consolation followed conflict. The devil left Him, and angels came to Him. The bread He refused at the hands of Satan, was brought to Him by ministering spirits.
Thus shall it be with you. If you are really in earnest in serving God, you may look for a sore battle now and then. Bunyan's Christian had a fight with Apollyon — and Apollyon is not yet either dead or in chains. You may at times have darkness and soul-trouble and wrestlings with the adversary, but friendly aid is not far off. Angels are on the wing. The present lack shall have a rich supply, and, before long, you will share with the celestial host the glory of the Father's house!
"So help me, Lord, Your holy will to suffer,
And still a learner at Your feet to be;
Give faith and patience when the way is rougher,
And at the end a joyful victory.
Then grief itself is changed to song,
Often on earth, but evermore before long."