Ladders of Ascent
Paul’s catalogues of woes were ladders of ascent.
His victories came through his valleys.
Similarly, your victory is in your valleys.
Those trying times can spell your triumph.
It depends on your perspective and your attitude.
David went through the valleys of the shadows of death to write sweet psalms that have enduring quality. We are able to identify with them through thick and thin after thousands of years. God wants to do the same through you, in your day.
Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
Let’s see some of Paul’s woes.
Yes, he faced many woes and foes, but these became his ladders for ascent; ladders and conduit to write many best sellers of all time. This was because of his perspective. He saw himself as more than a conqueror. He knew that if God was for him, no one could be against him and all their evil schemes, intrigues and diabolical machinations will come to nothing. In fact, he knew all things will work together for his good because he loved the Lord and was the called according to purpose. He knew that God was through his difficulties, working in him to work through him; working in him both to will and do according to His good pleasure. And so he could fight the good fight of faith because when all is said and done, he would come out on top. When the dust has settled after the storm, he will keep standing.
Yes, when hard-pressed, Paul knew he would not be crushed. When perplexed, he knew he needed not be in despair. When persecuted, he knew he was not abandoned. He could hear the Spirit’s voice:
‘Lo, I am with you always. I will never leave you nor forsake you. Have I not command you? Fear not, neither be you dismayed. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. The battle is not yours but Mine. I will fight for you and you will hold your peace. Be not afraid of their faces. They will be bread to you. You are more than a conqueror. Greater is He in you that he who is in the world. There are more with you than are against you. Be strong in Me and in My mighty power. ’
Now if you think you going through hell and high water, read this and be comforted
23 Are they ministers of Christ? — I speak as a fool — I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness —28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?
30 If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity.31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.32 In Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to arrest me;33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.
Yet amidst these woes Paul pressed on. You too can press on. Amidst these woes he wrote best sellers. You too can use your woes to write best sellers. You can obtain victories from your valleys.
In Philippi after casting out a demon from a girl who was used by his enemies, all hell broke loose against Paul and Silas. They were beaten, battered and broken and bled. And as if that was not enough, their hands and feet were chained and then thrown into the back of a dungeon of a prison.
But at midnight they decided to have a praise party. And they raised their voices and prayed and sang. It was the last thing you would expect from such prisoners. It was a ridiculous thing to do. It was a crazy move in the natural but we know what happened sooner than later. God rocked the foundations of the prison and their chains fell off. The jailor heard the cacophony and came running with his lamp. He thought they had all escaped, knowing that his life was on the line. He wanted to kill himself rather than fact the music but Paul stopped him: ‘We are all here. Do not harm yourself.’
He was so overwhelmed by their response that he was convicted and so moved to ask, ‘What must I do to be saved?’
Paul quickly seized the opportunity to lead him and his household to the Lord. They were all baptized and there was a great joy and celebration as he brought food and drink to commemorate that wonderful occasion.
And so it was from opposition and imprisonment to liberation, celebration and house-hold salvation. You see how valleys can spell victories; how woes can be ladders of ascent.(Acts16:18-34)
God is good all the time. If Paul can use his woes to write best-sellers, so can you. If he can use his valleys as ladders for rising higher in God. So can you. You can then count it all joy when you come to divers temptations because you know they are working for you; producing an exceedingly great treasure and weight of eternal glory.
Keep Your Dream Alive