We don’t like to think about the hard times and situations the Lord allows in our lives. Even more, we don’t like to experience them when they happen. Maybe we think that He has abandoned us in those times. Maybe we doubt that He cares. But sometimes the Lord allows difficulties in our lives to crush us, humble us and rework us, molding us into something new. Just like grapes are crushed for wine — the crushing isn’t a pleasant experience, but it’s necessary.
In the book of Micah, the prophet speaks to the nation of Israel, telling them they would experience crushing at the hands of the Babylonians. Israel’s enemies would stand around watching Israel be destroyed, mocking them, laughing at their pain. In all likelihood, the Israelites would hear those laughs and think, “Yes, we have been destroyed, and we can’t come out of this.” But the Lord had a different story in mind.
“But they do not know the Lord’s thoughts or understand His plan. These nations don’t know that He is gathering them together to be beaten and trampled like sheaves of grain on a threshing floor.” (Micah 4:12)
In this verse, Micah isn’t referring to the Israelites being crushed. No, now he refers to the very same nations that mocked Israel because they had been desecrated. Those nations, Israel’s mockers, would be crushed and trampled.
Sometimes we feel like we’ve been so crushed by the world and various circumstances that we can’t see victory ahead of us. We’re blind to anything else. We hear the enemy mock us, convincing us that we won’t get out of this slump, we’ll never be good enough, we’ll never overcome this.
We might not be able to see God’s plan, and we might even feel like He’s not close to us. But He is. He is guiding us through those debilitating, crushing times and allowing us to grow.
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:3)
In Micah 4, the Israelites who had been crushed and mocked eventually rose up and crushed the very same enemy that had been mocking them. Not through their own strength, of course, but with the Lord’s help. Perhaps the enemy is mocking you know, spinning a familiar web of deception and fear that immobilizes you and impedes you from moving forward. You do not have to remain crushed. You do not have to remain paralyzed by fear.
1 Peter 5:8 says,
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
Most of us have heard this, probably picturing a mean, powerful lion prowling about. Recently, I heard a message that changed my perspective of this verse and imagery. Yes, the lion is strong. Yes, the lion is smart and fast. And yes, its roar is loud and frightening. But the loud roar doesn’t do anything to the lion’s prey but paralyze it with fear, giving the lion a few precious moments to pounce on its prey and capture it. That’s what the devil tries to do with us. He roars loudly, trying to paralyze us with fear about what’s going on in the world around us, spewing deception and distractions, all in an attempt to immobilize us and make us useless to run away.
Don’t let the enemy’s roar paralyze you. Don’t give up in your ministry. Don’t stop reaching out to loved ones and friends. Don’t stop interceding and seeking after God. Don’t stop your spiritual warfare. Because “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)