The Delivering Power Of God
“But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.” —II TIMOTHY 3:10-11
The Need for Deliverance
The apostle Paul wrote to his precious “son in the faith,” Timothy (I Tim. 1:2), and warned him of events that would envelope the church in the last days. He told Timothy that in the latter days, evil and evil men would be more and more prominent. He warned Timothy, and in doing so, he forewarned this present generation as it regarded the difficult spiritual times in which we now find ourselves.
We live in a day and time where the Bible is no longer honored as it was in years past. The principles of the Word of God are being laid aside or ignored by the majority of the American population. There are some who mean well, but do not understand the content of the Word of God. There are others who are zealous, but they are attempting to live for God by laws and rules instead of faith and grace. Then there are those who literally despise the Word of God. They do not want to hear the Word preached in public. They do not want to be confronted by the words of Scripture that declare their actions or lifestyles to be wrong. They are determined to take steps to silence those of us who hold the Bible dear to our hearts. They want to deny the right of speech to those of us who believe in its precepts and its principles.
We are living in the time of which Paul prophesied to Timothy. However, Paul also reminded his young ward that even though he would face difficult circumstances and situations, the promise of the Lord would stand true. This promise of the Lord is still applicable to us today. In regard to the persecutions brought upon us by our opponents, the Lord still has the capacity to deliver us “out of them all.”
The Miraculous Deliverance
None of us want to face uncomfortable or hurtful situations. None of us want to find ourselves in peril, hurt, or despair; however, the Christian experience is not one that is void of these situations. Life is not fair at times. The world is evil. Hurt and harm can attack from quite a number of unseen and varied sources. When they appear, God can deliver us through a powerful miracle. He can deliver us by a manifestation of Himself that resolves the situation quickly. Such was the case for the Israelites standing on the banks of the Red Sea. The choices were simple. One could either stand and experience the sword of Pharaoh, or one could drown in the depths of the sea. However, God showed up and worked the miraculous. He opened the Red Sea. He delivered His people by a miracle.
Today, God can still work in this way. He still shuts the lions’ mouths as He did for Daniel. He still takes the burn out of the fire as He did for three Hebrew boys. He still delivers His people by miraculous intervention. He truly is the living, magnificent, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, immutable, miracle-working God! He still shows up just in time to deliver His people.
The Long-Term Deliverance
While He can deliver in this manner, He may not choose to do so. That does not mean that he does not intend to deliver. No woman in her right mind wants an elongated birthing process. For most, the desire is to have the baby brought forth quickly and effectively with as little pain as possible. A long-term delivery can be both dangerous and painful. God sometimes takes the believer through a lengthy birthing process. As believers, we do not like this path. It requires endurance of pain instead of an illumination of the opposition.
When we face difficulties over an extended time frame, God is still at work delivering us, but maybe not just in regard to this circumstance. For most of us, we still need deliverance from ourselves. When the believer finds himself in a lengthy situation, let him not think that God has failed in regard to His promise to deliver. It is in these cases that we may truly discover the power of God’s grace. According to I Corinthians 10:13, God teaches us how to bear up under the weight of these trials. He does not expect us to handle it in our own strength. He expects us to look to Him and receive His power to take us through the situation. While this process takes more time than we like, we must come to understand and believe that God is working something in us by allowing the circumstances. Although we are new creations in Christ Jesus, there are still ungodly thoughts and attitudes that we maintain in our minds. The process of removal of these things is not always instantaneous or painless, but God will stand with us throughout every minute of the trial. Once again, He is faithful to deliver us from both circumstances and the evil still maintained in the heart.
Deliverance by Faith
No matter what situation we may find ourselves in, faith remains the greatest need of the believer. God is working to produce a holy and dependent people. This means that we must learn to look to Him for every need and in every circumstance of life. The believer must come to know that what Christ did for us on Calvary has supplied to us a covenant that keeps us connected to our heavenly Father. He is always working to conform us into His image. He is always laboring to bring our hearts and minds in line with His. The further down He digs into the heart, the more painful it may become and the longer it may take. However, as we maintain proper faith in Christ, God will see us through every adverse circumstance. In the end, we, like Paul, will say, “Out of them all the Lord delivered me.”