I once watched a black and white video of a Python snake engaged in deadly battle with a Tiger. The Tiger, although a brilliantly designed predator, seemed to be no match for the Pythons ability to suffocate the life out of its prey. As soon as it ensnared the cat in its coils the Tiger’s time appeared to be over. I kept waiting for the final moment when the Tiger would stop struggling, stop biting the snake that held it in its grasp and allow its final breath to leave its body-but that moment never came. Instead, what I saw was a persistent animal that persevered unto life. At the end of the clip the Tiger wrestled free and took off into the bush, I was pleasantly surprised. Years later I found myself in a battle with a similar type of enemy.

I can’t remember the exact circumstances that held the weight I was bearing, but I remember feeling like I was slowly being suffocated by a persistent enemy. Over a period of time I felt myself gradually becoming weaker as the spiritual life that animated my existence seemed to be fading away; my strength was growing thin. At this time I remember praying to God and asking for direction, what am I supposed to do against something that feels so much bigger than me? My efforts to overcome the enemy didn’t seem to be accomplishing anything, like I was beating the wind or boxing shadows, I felt finished. It was during this time of prayer that the Lord showed me a picture of the video I had watched of the Tiger and Python, and although there weren’t any words being spoken, I knew that God was relaying to me that regardless of how weak I felt, I had to keep fighting.

That period of slow suffocation didn’t seem to evaporate as soon as God put that picture on my heart, in fact it continued for some time. But I remembered seeing that Tiger, who I thought was surely dead, slip loose as he refused to bow out of his struggle, and I knew that I had to do the same. If I did, I knew I would eventually overcome the demonic forces that threatened to drown my life. But I also knew that if I gave up, I would lose. Satan is a persistent enemy, and his goal is to take us out of the game, to disqualify us from running the race that God’s called us to, God’s unique purpose for our lives. But like the Tiger, we have a say in what happens. We can choose to bow to the enemy’s continual intimidation, or we can persist in our refusal to fall victim to his impositions. God’s grace will always be sufficient enough to pull us through any storm, no matter how severe it may be. His love and power is a never ending lifeline that always leads to the finish line in any race. We just have to continue to run. And when we refuse to bow to the circumstances, spiritual or physical, that press upon us, eventually we come to a place where those struggles don’t seem to carry the same weight they once did. Through our persistence we’ve gained strength and God positions us in place where we’re able to be more suitably used by Him for the purpose He’s called us to. Although it seemed hopeless in the moment, there was a method to our sadness, and God’s hand was holding us the entire time.

It’s not always easy to see how God orchestrates grand narratives while we’re in the middle of them, but if we keep our position in the meantime, we eventually get to see what He’s created with our lives. Whether in heaven or around here, we’ll be able to look back and rejoice in the handicap that God used to accomplish His handiwork. In the midst of God’s sovereign progress however, it is our response to our handicaps that decides whether our lives will tell a story of ashes or beauty.

Scriptures featured in this devotion:

1. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,-Hebrews 12:1

2. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

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