Women's Devo | April
We Do Not Throw in the Towel
“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:2-3 NIV
In the boxing world, the expression to “throw in the towel” usually occurs when the boxer is no longer able to throw a punch, or even lift up his arms because he has lost all strength. It is here when the trainer notices that his boxer has reached his limit and makes the decision to “throw in the towel”. This is what indicates the fight is over and prevents further suffering or irrepressible pain. Notice this decision is not made by the boxer, but by the trainer.
How many times have we found ourselves in life’s fighting arena where the thought to throw in the towel has crossed our mind? Or how many times have we simply thought of abandoning everything and fleeing? Didn’t David do just this when he fled to the cave of Adullam? David, the man called “the sweet Psalmist of Israel”? David, the man “after God’s own heart”? David, the man called, the lamp of Jehovah? Did he not flee out of desperation?
Didn’t Peter also deny Jesus and return to his life of being a fisherman? When Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” Simon Peter was the one that answered by saying, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus responded, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:13, 16-18 NIV). This was said of the man, whom we all know denied Christ three times; and yet he was redeemed and still told by Jesus to shepherd his flock (John 21:17).
The litany of Biblical heroes who have fallen short and turned their back on God goes on and on. Judas sold Jesus. The other disciples dispersed in fear. Jonah went on another path, directly disobeying God’s commands. Balaam desired treasure above all. Abraham lied to save his skin. Elijah prayed for death after witnessing God’s great marvels. Gideon was called during a moment of cowardice. And so on, and so forth……
It is a reality that we all want blessings, joy, and prosperity; but none of us want to endure the suffering and strife that it takes to attain these things. During the delivery process, the woman is given a choice of having an epidural. This injection can be risky, and the woman must sign a waiver consenting to undergo the procedure. During the procedure, she must be completely still because one move can have life-long consequences. Yes, the procedure has a numbing effect and assists in relieving the pain, but at what cost? Is relieving momentary pain really worth the possible lifelong risks? Each woman must make this decision based on their own situation. But there is yet another issue that arises in choosing this option. You see, the pain from the contractions is what alerts the woman on when to push. The same goes for us in life. It is the pain that alerts us when to push and accelerate the process. In other words, in order to release that which is inside of us, we must push! This process was not what was intended in the beginning. Yes, God in the beginning states that there would be pain, but because of the introduction of sin and disobedience, pain was augmented. In other words, if you truly want to deliver that which God deposited into you, do not try to eliminate the pain. You have to push and breakthrough for that which is to come!
God has allowed me to be at three different deliveries. The first one was that of a young lady who was having difficulty delivering her baby. The doctor told me to interpret and stated, “the blood that was being seen was that of a forced rupture and that an incision must be made in order for the baby to be born sooner.” The mother did not want for that procedure to occur, but she asked if it was necessary and the doctor confirmedthat it was. The doctor made the incision and the baby was born.
The path of the cross is inevitable. That was the plan the Father had in order for us to all be able to attain salvation. People laughed and mocked as the “King of the Jews” made His entrance and walked the path to the cross. But all this was needed for the greatest victory of all. Jesus recognized that this process needed to be done. Because of this process, we do not see Jesus the victim, but Christ the Victor, the overcomer, the survivor. Because Christ is able to do all these things, I too can say the same! Hallelujah!
Acts 20:22-24, “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”
From this passage, there are three clear steps on how to become a survivor/overcomer:
- The first is that we must endure.People admire that which they can see. What many don’t understand is that which they see, has come about with a price. God has seen our tears, our pain, and our anguish. To endure(Greek), means to have an extreme weight placed upon a person, without fail and without shaking. Each of us have passed through trials that seem humanly impossible to endure. But we trust God that He does not give trials or tribulations that we are not strong enough to endure. On the contrary, when a trial arrives in our lives, God will give usthe exit strategy or give usthe strength to endure (1 Corinthians 10:13). God did not make a mistake in giving us the burden which we carry. He knows the capacity of weight we can carry. He weighs it out first and knows that 150 lbs. will not kill us. The weight of the trial wants to detain you and there will be suffering, however, you will still be elevated to His presence and what is to come is pure glory.
- Our “Special Trainer” is God.He is the one who knows us best, even better than we know ourselves. He will never allow us to struggle or fight against something that is greater than our capability to endure.
- The Lord has never thrown in the towel and will never throw in the towel when it comes to those whom He has called.Why? Because He is Jehova-Gibbor Milchamah, the Lord mighty in battle, the greatest of generals, leader of the Heavenly Hosts, and He fights on our behalf.
So, if He that has called you, never give up. Don’t you dare do it! He is the one who gives us the strength. You can do it! Endure! Resist! I will not tremble! I will not shake! I will not break! There are many that flee, “but we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” Hebrews 10:39 NIV.
Push, for those are simply birthing pains. Remember that your trial and tribulation is simply a sign of which is to come. Push, so you can give birth to what God has deposited within you! Your reward is on its way!
María del Carmen Méndez prefers to go by Carmen, especially after she found it meant “song” and that coincided with her desire to “sing” for God. She was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico but came to live in Bronx, New York. Carmen and her husband, Demetrio pastor Iglesia De Dios es el Poderin Hinesville/ Ft. Stewart, Georgia since 2006. Both are licensed ministers in the Church of God. The Méndez’s have been married for 37 years, 29 dedicated to ministry. They have three adult children, Jesus, Edgar and Ann-Marie and two grandchildren, Israel and Elisabeth Marie.