But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57).
This isn’t an easy post for me to write. It means reflecting on some of the darkest evil plaguing our world today: terrorism. But a recent encounter allowed me to see more clearly the power of God’s sustaining Word—even amidst terror caused by evil actions.
At a coffee shop in Uganda I met a young man who had witnessed and survived (by hiding in a frigid meat freezer) the September 21, 2013 terrorist attack at Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, that resulted in 67 deaths. Though he was ultimately among those rescued, during the horrific ordeal the man saw the face of evil as innocent people were gunned down—some at point blank range—if they failed to convince the radical militants that they shared the same religion.
As he watched people die, the young man had every reason to believe he wouldn’t make it out alive. He told me, however, that because he was confident of having been saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9) and that Jesus is his Savior (1 Timothy 1:1), he feared pain—but not death. The man’s mind raced and his heart pounded that day, but at the same time he experienced supernatural peace as he clung to Scripture, including the following verses from God’s Word:
• “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).
• “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3).
I consider it a gift from God to have met this man, for he’s a living testimony that God and His Word can still our hearts and grant peace to our minds even during the most horrific situations on earth.
We can cling to that confidence which is available through Christ alone.
The Supreme Climb
Take now your son…and offer him…as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you. —Genesis 22:2
A person’s character determines how he interprets God’s will (see Psalm 18:25-26). Abraham interpreted God’s command to mean that he had to kill his son, and he could only leave this traditional belief behind through the pain of a tremendous ordeal. God could purify his faith in no other way. If we obey what God says according to our sincere belief, God will break us from those traditional beliefs that misrepresent Him.
There are many such beliefs which must be removed– for example, that God removes a child because his mother loves him too much. That is the devil’s lie and a travesty on the true nature of God! If the devil can hinder us from taking the supreme climb and getting rid of our wrong traditional beliefs about God, he will do so. But if we will stay true to God, God will take us through an ordeal that will serve to bring us into a better knowledge of Himself.
The great lesson to be learned from Abraham’s faith in God is that he was prepared to do anything for God. He was there to obey God, no matter what contrary belief of his might be violated by his obedience. Abraham was not devoted to his own convictions or else he would have slain Isaac and said that the voice of the angel was actually the voice of the devil. That is the attitude of a fanatic. If you will remain true to God, God will lead you directly through every barrier and right into the inner chamber of the knowledge of Himself. But you must always be willing to come to the point of giving up your own convictions and traditional beliefs. Don’t ask God to test you. Never declare as Peter did that you are willing to do anything, even “to go …both to prison and to death” (Luke 22:33). Abraham did not make any such statement— he simply remained true to God, and God purified his faith.
Are you ready to make the Supreme Climb?
by Oswald Chambers