Life-Giving Encouragement: More Than Conquerors
By Jane Anne Wilson, Guest Writer
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:37-39 ESV
Remember Eve, whose name means life-giver? She seemed to take credit for creating life when she gave birth to her first son. Well, actually, she implies that God and she partnered in this amazing event. Then life happened. Her oldest son kills his brother. While few words describe this horrific series of events, we can imagine the devastating emotions Eve experienced. When she gives birth to Seth, she gives credit to God alone for the creation of this child. Life circumstances transformed Eve from a woman relying on herself to a woman who recognizes that God is the Source of all of life.
When troubles take us beyond our ability to see clearly or act rationally, like Eve’s family, we are often more open to be shown more of who God is. Our faith is increased and our life-giving capacity grows because we know God better. The heart of a life-giver knows God.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul tells us about his dire circumstances and then concludes that those troubles were intended to “make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9). We have every reason to lack confidence in self, but as we come to know God, we have every reason to have complete and compelling confidence in His power because Jesus rose from the dead. A fundamental difference between the heart of a life-taker and the heart of life-giver is the object of our confidence.
Often my default choice is to have confidence in myself. Is there a problem? I come up with a strategy to fix it without taking a step back and asking the Lord to guide my actions and words. My own needs and expectations influence my interactions. Sometimes there is a good outcome, but maybe I missed a better outcome that could have had an eternal impact. I am learning that I can’t function as a life-giver on my own. God’s purposes are bigger and His plans eternal. I often shortchange the power the Lord has to shape my thinking because I forget that resurrection power comes from my union with Christ.
Thankfully, my union with Christ is sealed by His blood. No matter how messy my efforts, He will not let me go. The more I understand and experience His love, the more I long to know Him better. Difficult circumstances drive me to His Word where I find hope and wisdom. I wish I never forgot this great truth. Apparently, Paul himself sometimes struggled to remember not to rely on himself. I imagine Paul talking to himself in the middle of this deadly crisis saying, “Remember God’s promise. He will not leave me. He promised. He is here now.”
A life-giver learns, sometimes through painful days in the lives of others, that she desperately needs the Lord to guide each step in her desire to offer help and hope.
Dear Jesus, like Paul, we need You. Life happens and we recognize that we cannot offer help and hope when circumstances seem hopeless, unless we run to You and Your Word for wisdom. Thank you for the promise of Your presence and wisdom.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jane Anne Wilson, wife to David, mother of four children, and grandmother to two grandchildren, presently serves on the women’s ministry leadership team in her local church and is the Northeast Regional Advisor for her denomination’s national women’s ministry team.
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