Because we are in a war, there are real casualties. There is real pain. War involves sacrifice and there is both a fog of war and a battle hum that often creates doubt to winning or losing.
If you read I and II Timothy along with Philippians sometime, you get a picture of Paul, after years of faithful fighting- recounting the casualties.
I Timothy 1:3- certain men teaching false doctrine, involved in controversy
1:5 they wander from love, pure heart, and good conscience
1:19 some have shipwrecked their faith
1:20 Hymenaeus and Alexander handed over to Satan
II Timothy 1:15 'everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me' including Phygelus and Hermongenes
2:17 Hymenaeus and Philetus wander away- godless chatter spreads like gangrene
3:10- Paul's persecutions
4:10 Demas deserted Paul because he loved the world
4:14 Alexander the metalworker did Paul great harm
And yet- he never despairs.. Paul continues to be filled with hope and joy.
Re-read Philippians and remember, this is Paul IN CHAINS
vs 3 I Thank God
vs 4 I pray with joy
vs 6- confident of victory
vs 12 what has happened to me has advanced the gospel
He says over and over I rejoice......
He says 'cheered', 'confident', 'eager'
Read chapter 3- wow - One thing I do- forget the past and strain toward what is ahead...I PRESS ON
Read chapter 4- rejoice- rejoice- rejoice- do not be anxious- pray with thanksgiving- peace will guard your heart and your mind- rejoice- I can do all things through Christ- I am amply supplied- your gifts are a fragrant aroma......
We gathered our small group last night and shared the battle... there is pain and worry and persecution. We prayed. I looked over my list this morning... it is long. I have never had a time in my life where there are so many spiritual and material needs. We have some real pleas for breakthrough.
But God is good. He is always faithful and he is the King and Victor! Let's keep pressing on!
The harder the struggle, the more glorious the victory.