Then Gideon said to him, “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
Judges 6:13 (NASB)
Perhaps you are discouraged, not only by the strength of the enemy, but by your own apparent weakness and the constant contention with sin and self. Be encouraged! There is strong consolation for the Christian who struggles with the truth of God’s grace and his own inner conflicts with sin. Gideon cried out in despair, “If the Lord be with us, why is all this befallen us?” (Judges 6:13). We understand his perplexity because we identify with his sufferings. Our hearts, too, cry out, “Why do I find such struggling in me, provoking me to sin, pulling me back from that which is good?”
God has a ready answer if we will stop whining long enough to hear it. “Because,” He says, “you are a wrestler, not a conqueror.” It is as simple as that. Too often we mistake the state of a Christian in this life. He is not immediately called to triumph over his enemies, but is carried into battle to fight them. The state of grace is the commencement of your war against sin, not the culmination of it. God Himself will enter the battle in disguise and appear to be your enemy, rather than leave you no enemy to wrestle with. When Jacob was alone, He sent a man to wrestle with him until dawn.
Take comfort in the fact that you are a wrestler. This struggling within you, if upon the right ground and to the right end, only proves there are two nations within you, two contrary natures, the one from earth earthly, and the other from heaven heavenly. And for your further comfort, know that although your corrupt nature is the elder, yet it shall serve the younger (Genesis 25:23).
Wrap your weary soul in this promise: There is a place of rest reserved for the people of God. You do not beat the air, but wrestle to win heaven and a permanent crown. Here on earth we overcome to fight again. One temptation may be conquered, but the war remains. When death comes, however, God strikes the final blow.