Week 8 Hope and Certainty
His Power and No Other
Trust Him now for everything, and see if He does not do for you exceeding abundantly above all that you could ever have asked or thought, not according to your power or capacity, but according to His own mighty power, that will work in you all the good pleasure of His most blessed will.
Hannah Whitall Smith[i]
rue change is rare. It is typical for us to repeat the same negative patterns throughout our lives, committing the same sins and making the same mistaken efforts to find our needs met in sources that have always disappointed. And yet we keep trying again and again, like one who makes multiple and futile efforts to break down a door hewn of solid oak. We turn to money or romance or make repeated efforts to win the favor of some specific human being, and we think if we can only attain these things, then our hearts will be mended. This is tragic, because our only hope is in God’s power and not our own.
We want to become stronger, better, and yes, more powerful; in our secret hearts our desire is to reach a place where we can cope in our own strength. This desire makes us vulnerable to the enemy’s deception that tells us if we will only partake in some power apart from God, we can wield that power rather than being ensnared by it. Thankfully, when we belong to the Lord, He does not hesitate to intervene when we seek power from sources not of Him. I was blessed to learn this lesson when I was just 13 years old.
When I was in junior high some friends introduced me to the use of a Ouija Board. I've forgotten the details, but it was probably at a Halloween party, and I do remember how exhilarating it was to feel I was touching the supernatural. During the months that followed, these same friends learned more about tools of the paranormal trade and I recall dark basements, séances, and rhymes that had to be recited in a darkened room that contained a mirror. At some point a sickening suspicion dawned that the power we were flirting with was real. I was terrified, but at the same time the fascination remained; it was magnetic. We made the common and witless error of thinking that because we were touching an occult power, we were powerful ourselves. Strange coincidences occurred, and I felt special, as though I knew of things others did not.
My mother became alarmed by my new interests, and through her I received Godly instruction that taught me what I needed to know to extricate myself from those friends and practices that were an invitation from the enemy to become ensnared. I praise God no drugs or alcohol were involved, and I am grateful I was rescued before I suffered lasting harm. The only residual ill effect is that because of the loss of the comfortable illusion that there are no such things as spiritual forces of evil, I've often had to wage battles against fear, but God has turned this for my good as fear always sends me running to my Savior.
Our God is the only One fit to do battle against the enemy. We have no power of our own when compared to the much greater power of the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms; our only hope lies in aligning ourselves with the Almighty God who is above every other power. We have only one task, and that is to place ourselves in the path of God’s love. As we participate in His interests in other people, we learn of His love for them, and as we love others with God’s love, we are cleansed and blessed ourselves. It always comes back to Jesus’ summary of God’s law: love God first and best, and love others with His love.[ii] When we abide in His love, His power is at work within us, the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead.[iii] When we accept that we are weak and let this weakness propel us to dependence upon God, we find He is strong.[iv]
Pray: Lord, please forgive me for my efforts to become more independent; I didn’t recognize this as a hidden desire to be less dependent upon You. Forgive me for a desire to be strong apart from You. Help me always, through every season of my life, find my strength in You and You alone. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Oh, grant us help against the foe,
for vain is the salvation of man!
With God we shall do valiantly;
it is he who will tread down our foes.