“Be self-controlled and alert.
Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour.
Resist him, standing firm in the faith,
because you know that your brothers
throughout the world are undergoing the same
kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace,
who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
after you have suffered a little while, will himself
restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
One evening a few weeks ago, I went to the San Diego Zoo with a couple of wonderful friends and Sophia, my daughter. The great thing about going to the zoo at night is that all of the animals that are sleepy during the day are more active as the sun starts to set.
A male lion was particularly agitated while we were there. He was prowling around his enclosure and roaring frequently.
I had never heard a lion’s roar in person before that evening.
It was awe-inspiring and fear-inducing.
I thought of these verses as I watched this lion pacing back and forth near the front of his enclosure. He was upset and wanted to make sure that everyone within his sight and the sound of his roar knew it.
Despite the knowledge that he couldn’t escape that enclosure, I still felt fear rising up inside me. On some very basic level, I knew that lion, if given the opportunity, would try to devour me or someone else in the crowd.
I almost couldn’t take my eyes off him as he stalked back and forth. Part of his frustration was the knowledge that he was unable to do anything more than roar (and spray urine on people who were brave…um, foolish…enough to stand inside the “spray zone”).
And then…there was the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to me in the midst of that crowd.
Our enemy is just like that. Prowling. Roaring. Looking. Obviously possessing the ability to destroy us.
God exhorts us to resist him and stand firm in the faith.
God reminds us that we are all undergoing the same kind of sufferings. Not one of us faces something completely unique.
God reminds us that He is the God of all grace and that we are called to his eternal glory in Christ and that our suffering is just for a little while.
If we choose to obey what the Lord has told us to do in these verses, our enemy will not be able to do anything more than prowl, roar, and look for someone to devour.
So, dear sisters, what suffering are you enduring right now?
Does it feel like more than just “a little while?” (I know that sometimes my definition of “a little while” and God’s definition aren’t anywhere close to the same length of time!)
Is it something in your marriage? A job? With a child or other family member?
Does it feel like it’s too much for you to bear? (I have, on more than one occasion, been certain that I would absolutely crumble under the suffering I was walking through, and somehow, through God’s grace I never have!)
Let me remind you of this good news:
have to do is be self-controlled, alert, and resist the enemy by standing in faith.
Oh, yeah…and suffer.
Self-control: it’s a fruit of the Spirit…so you received it when you accepted Christ. Now you simply have to use it.
Alert: just pay attention to what’s going on around you.
Resist by standing in faith: do some spiritual warfare by using the Word of God.
Suffer: we’ve all done that once or twice, right?
God has said that He will take care of the hard parts:
He will restore you.
He will make you strong.
He will make you firm.
He will make you steadfast.
Because His power is for ever and ever.
And when you’ve gotten through that suffering, you will be able to proclaim His great, never-ending power.
You will have a testimony of God’s true love manifest in your circumstances!
Praying for each of us,