Continued from here.
A friend who is under heavy spiritual attack for doing the right thing asked why God allows spiritual attack when doing His will. After all, if God wants this done, then why not remove all of the obstacles and make it easier?
The short answer is that God has more in mind than the end goal, and He is a multi-tasker. While God is interested in the “job” He assigned us to do, He is even more interested in changing our character. As our character changes to become more like Christ, then the spiritual attacks lose the power to bother us so much. Put another way, the tests leads to perseverance, which leads to maturity and completeness. If God removed the obstacles, we would never become mature and complete.
One aspect of our character that must be broken is self-sufficiency. The only way to do this is to allow situations to come into our lives that we don’t have the resources to navigate. For example, when my then-15-year-old son had back surgery, I did not have the physical or emotional resources to take care of him. I am not a nurturer by nature, and his level of need after coming home from the hospital far surpassed the limited resources I had to take care of him. Nevertheless, I did it because God was my sufficiency.
Paul tells us that…
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. ~ Phil. 4:11-13
As Ann Voskamp pointed out in her book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, note the repetition of the phrase “I have learned.” Contentment wasn’t some gift that God magically dropped out of the sky onto Paul. Paul had to learn contentment. And how did he do that? By letting go of self-sufficiency in trials and finding his sufficiency in God:
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. ~ Phil. 4:13
In my next blog entry, I’ll talk about what letting go of self-sufficiency looks like in my life.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace sinking in quicksand below the word, “Help!” Courtesy Bitmoji.]