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God Gives Strength When We Need It, Not Sooner

In his book, Against the Flow, Oxford professor John Lennox notes that when God calls us to do something difficult he gives us the strength when we need it, not before we need it. Lennox illustrates this biblical principle with a story about an encounter with a Russian follower of Jesus who spent years in a Siberian labor camp for the crime of teaching his children about the Bible. Lennox writes:

He described to me that he had seen things that no man should ever have to see. I listened, thinking how little I really knew about life, and wondering how I would have fared under his circumstances. As if he had read my thoughts, he suddenly said: "You couldn't cope with that, could you?" Embarrassed, I stumbled out something like: "No, I am sure you are right." He then grinned and said: "Nor could I! I was a man who fainted at the sight of his own blood, let alone that of others. But what I discovered in the camp was this: God does not help us to face theoretical situations but real ones. Like you I couldn't imagine how one could cope in the Gulag. But once there I found that God met me, exactly as Jesus had promised his disciples when he was preparing them for victimization and persecution.

Lennox adds, "We can be confident, then, that the Lord will give us a sufficient amount of grace to handle whatever comes our way, whenever it comes our way—and not necessarily a moment before!"

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