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These days, because of the uncertainty that pervades everywhere, simple questions like “how are you?” can elicit different kinds of responses, many of them quite interesting. As people of faith many of us are used to answering that question by saying “the Lord is in control”. One can however see through the demeanor and manner of response that we are not sure. I read about a guy who was asked that simple question and the response was “I am in hell”. I know many of us have been there before. We have been in situations where when it rains, it pours. We have been in situations where it looks like issues always come in series, one after the other. We have been in situations where we think we are in hell. I personally have been in situations where it looked like I get kicked when I am down just to have another situation pick me back up to be kicked down to the ground again. In such situations it is quite easy to believe that you are in hell. The truth though is that no matter how serious or difficult our situation might be, it is absolutely nothing compared to hell.
I read about a lady who had some tough situations going on all at the same time. Imagine having your house foreclosed on, two days after you are diagnosed with cancer, while finding out your oldest son just died in a car accident. Talk about being kicked while you are down! I have been there a few times. I remember that it was the same day that we were rejoicing that my late wife, Iyabo, had just passed her first year of nursing school that we found out she had cancer. Talk about feeling like you are in hell. At some time in 1987, I was supposed to leave the USA for Nigeria finally, but my trip got delayed because the Nigerian Embassy delayed the processing of my passport. Well, I made the trip the following week, only to get home to find that my mother, whom I had not seen in a while, had gone to be with the Lord a few hours before I got home. You see, in the journey of life we are going to have problems. We are going to have ups and downs. During these times we must be able to hold on to the one thing that can get us through, our faith.
We read about the three men in the Bible (Daniel Chapters 1 through 3) who were tossed into a fiery furnace for standing up for what they believed in. Although the fire was made seven times hotter than its original temperature, these three men stood in the fire, held on to their faith and were not consumed. In fact, when they walked out of the furnace they didn’t even smell like smoke. These three men were overcomers because of their faith. They overcame the fiery fire because of what they believed in. The same with you and I, we are overcomers. No matter how bad our situation looks or feels like right now, we are still here and because we are still living, we can overcome.
In order to overcome we must learn to endure. Remember that God has a plan for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and even in our most difficult situations, God is busy working out His plans for us. It does not matter what you are going through; it does not matter how close you are to your breaking point; or how much pressure is building up in your situation. Please remember that it cannot overcome you as long as you stand firm on your faith. Even to the point of death, we are overcomers. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:57 that God has given us victory over death. We should never let our life situations consume us. We must remember that like the night, our difficulties are accompanied by darkness, but if we endure long enough the dawn of a new day will come with a bright light.
There is one thing we should be aware of. Many times, when we are kicked down by our circumstances, and we get up again through our prayers and the prayers of the faithful, we should pay very serious attention to how we proceed from then on. There are many of us who immediately go back to our old ways of life. Many of us do not even choose to learn a lesson in what we just went through. It is like life is good. We immediately forget that we overcame by the blood of the lamb and by the word of our testimonies – Rev 12:11. A crucial part of our testimony is to live honest and holy lives. Many of us seem to forget this. The key word our Lord Jesus Christ spoke to the woman taken in adultery was to “go and sin no more” – John 8:11. Remember, we are overcomers, we have overcome by the blood of the lamb, but when we overcome, we need to go, and sin no more. – Pastor Simbo Odunaiya