One of the fascinating realities about human nature – including yours and mine! – is that the actual reality of our heart’s condition is made plain under the increasing pressures of times like these. The apostle Paul wrote about this dynamic to the Corinthian believers in his second letter in this way:
 
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 
 
Under the extreme pressures of physical persecution, Paul was able to say that when his body, his “earthen vessel” was hard-pressed, persecuted, or even struck down, what was actually exhibited was the character of Jesus shining through! How was it possible for him to have that view of things when everything around him seemed not just difficult, but life-threatening?
 
There’s really only one way to take that posture. It is to realize, as Paul did, that when Jesus suffered He was actually being exhibited by the Father as the perfectly submissive, obedient, faithful and ultimately victorious Son who would by His obedience redeem you and me and everyone else who calls on His Name. Then, having realized this, Paul takes his own experience of suffering and counts it as a partnership in the sufferings of Jesus, laboring together with Him to defeat the strategies of Satan by simple, faithful and loving obedience.
 
You see, Satan’s goal is to use the pressure to expose us as frauds, as those who really only believe when everything is going well. God the Father, however, has His own agenda. He uses these same pressures to exhibit us as victorious children in the image of Jesus, as overcomers who win our personal battles just as Jesus overcame and won His ultimate battle. This is the conquering Bride who in the Day of the Lord be the suitable counterpart to the Bridegroom Son of the Father.
 
The Church of Jesus Christ is going to be exhibited as glorious in these troublesome times, not merely because we have the ability to use the Name of Jesus to rebuke all the trouble, but because we are found faithful to stand with Him in the midst of the trouble, no matter what effect it has on our personal comfort zones. 
 
May God’s Presence hold you near to His heart, that having done everything else, you may be able to simply stand and wait for Him.
 
Gary Wiens


Gary Wiens, 9/16/2020