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36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” 38 And,“But my righteous one will live by faith.And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. Hebrews 10:36-39

In this message I want to look at the struggles we all face and possibly the reason why we never seem to get any breakthrough. We will also look at the struggles we often associate with the patriarch Jacob. We will come to realise that although his trials were peculiar to him, we too, sometimes have to wrestle with angels.

Each of us experiences struggles and trials at different levels. For some, small things can be like mountains; for others, big things, though just as serious seem to show very little or no external signs. Whether those trials are little or big they will have eternal consequences. We may not be in the throws of extreme suffering, as some may experience for example, with the loss of family or loved ones, especially during times of war or conflict. We may not be experiencing loss through tragedy or accident, the loss of work or business, and neither may we be experiencing heartache through relational breakdowns and even the trauma felt by families affected by divorce or marital strife. In other ways be may not be experiencing the difficulties that come through infirmity or the results of some dreadful disease. Degrees of suffering, loss and lack, are of course relative. Each of us will respond with different levels of resolve. Some will make it through; others may not. Some will make it through the night; for others it may take several nights. Whatever situation we may find ourselves in, we must know that as believers, God is with us and in Him we put our trust.

Isaiah 53 is called the account of ‘the suffering servant.’ It is a prophetic utterance that foretells the coming Messiah and depicts the sufferings of Christ. It shows us that Jesus was not unfamiliar with our ways and concerns, and that He Himself, suffered as a human being.

It is harder to go through the fog of misfortune and meet God along the way than it is to go through it with Him having prepared already, by our relationship with Him. Our relationship with God brings us the promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us - Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6.

God is not a God who is absent from His creation. He is not a God who is too far off for us to reach, and He is not a God who lacks capacity in understanding the mind and conditions of man. The very fact of the Holy Spirit living in each believer, testifies to this, knowing that God, who hears our cries and responds accordingly, shows us that He is attentive. Jesus, at the time of his birth, survived the cull of the infants, through Herod’s edict. In Jesus’ earthly ministry, He witnessed the suffering of His people under Roman rule. He saw the sickness and depravity of man — He saw death and the lack of faith amongst His dearest and closest friends. But nothing of what He saw had any place or power in His presence. Wherever He went, the darkness was dispelled. We read that the sick and infirm were healed, the hungry were fed, the dead were brought back to life. However, we don’t always have to be in the depth of struggle and suffering to call out, “Jesus, help me!”

We need His help every day. Jesus promises us our daily bread. In this promise, He gives us Himself, because He is the Bread of Life, the Word of God. Just as God provided the needs of the Israelites during their exodus journey, He will do the same for us all. God’s promises for our daily lives include the prosperity of our hands. He makes our paths straight and grants the desires of our heart. He gives His angels charge over us, and protects us from the storm, the fire and the pestilence. When we make Him Lord over our lives, and obey His Word, making Him our Rock, Refuge and Fortress, He dwells with us and walks with us in the valley of shadows, and raises us up to the high places, bringing us through to victory. He promises, and this is the breakthrough key, that when we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. Ephesians 6:10 tells us about the heavenly armour we should wear during our spiritual battles. We are called to wear it in the power and strength of God, and in doing so, our fight against the powers and principalities in the heavens are defeated. These are the promises and the power that we have.