When I am scheduled to teach on a Sunday, I sometimes find it helpful to read the content from the Bible in different translations, to prepare for the lesson. One morning, I was reading through Judges 6 (before teaching it the next Sunday), and the New Living Translation’s rendering of verse 16 caught my attention:
The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”
Judges 6:16 NLT
I don’t know about you, but sometimes it seems like more than one problem hits me at once. It’s not uncommon for me to have multiple instant-message windows open on my work computer, trying to participate in multiple conversations at the same time. (Some days, that multitasking works better than others.) Even at home, I’m not always through one project when another one comes up (or the phone rings).
In that light, the verse above gave me my prayer for that morning: I prayed that I – and others – would be able to overcome problems as if they were just “one man” or one opponent. For missionaries who reach out to other people (and often put themselves in danger), I figure that they could handle one person’s objections in a given day. For those dealing with the fallout from divorce, they should be able to overcome one bad feeling that day. For those recovering from illness, they could probably deal with one physical limitation today (or staying on hold long enough to resolve one medical bill). We often feel overwhelmed with a day’s problems, but when we think about it, we could probably take on one thing today.
Now, God doesn’t always take away all but one of our problems at a time, but He doesn’t throw us to the wolves, either. Instead, He walks alongside us and offers support and strength to get through with His help. If we thought that we could tackle one problem today, well, that’s probably pretty confident of us (since even that comes from the strength that God gives). However, with God’s help, that same amount of energy and ability that He gives us is enough to overcome an army of problems. For our part, we should ensure that we are doing God’s work and listening to His promises. For His part, He doesn’t guarantee that every day will be simple, but when it is His will to do so, He can take one person – including each of us – and multiply their contributions miraculously.
So, even when we feel like the whole world (both natural and supernatural) is against us, we might say that following God’s will and letting Him act on our behalf “evens the odds”. In fact, God is always victorious in the end, so there’s really no contest or “odds”, I suppose. When He chooses to, He gives us the ability to overcome far greater challenges than we would ever dream of addressing on our own. If you have chosen to follow Jesus, and join the side with that awesome power, I hope that you will be encouraged by this reality, today.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.