Faith Filled Heroes Prevail in the Face of Death, Hell, and Darkness
By Dr, Lindy S. Diffenbaugh, D. D.
Let me open this message with the intent to create a small documentation of Historical Heroes of Faith. This may not be my only article concerning these heroes, but it will be a beginning. As I am sure that you are aware that the Bible is filled with such writings in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
At the beginning of any biblical story, most of the “soon to be heroes of faith” that we stumble upon, are in their youth or they are involved in a life, business, and/or project that they just cannot believe that they can lay down their profession without losing huge sums of money from that premier, hard to find opportunity! In fact, even though the Lord is certainly calling them, they do not present as strong and capable “would be warriors,” in their own life and character.
These are often insecure, broken, ill equipped and full of self-doubt. They do not believe that they have what it takes to get things done and they often say, “I can’t do this, I am not willing to risk my life to engage in a battle that might destroy my future and could take my life in the process!” Beyond such objections, they throw in, “It would not be to anyone’s advantage for me to step into this task because I know that I just do not have the skills or the energy to make it work out for you or for me.”
In fact, that is the point that they would say, “I am sure that there are others out there that are anxious and prepared to get the job done. You need to find another guy/gal, with a desire to become a true Warrior for God! That just is not who I am!” On the other hand, Heroes say, “I’m going to stop anybody from what I have been going through”! But the timid one says, “You got the wrong guy!
The person who does not honor God, would say, “It is so important that I take down the righteous and raise up the wicked to a place of absolute power!” Of course, we all know that the devil himself is the “Father of (all) Lies”, and he knows that his days are numbered! In fact, if you have read your Bible, then you know that God has Satan on a short leash; he can destroy no more than God will allow him to!
The Triune God Calls Us to Turn Villains into Saints
If we consider some of the men and women that moved from the evil end of the equation in the bible. were also filled to overflowing with heroes, zeroes, and villains. It would be enlightening to look into the life of Saul of Tarsus, in the New Testament!
Let us start with a Villian in the New Testament, that God knew was destined to be a Mighty Man of God, but at that time, he persecuted Christians. In fact, he had worked passionately to persecute Christians in his early years.
In fact, Saul of Tarsus, saw it as his mission to take down and destroy the faithful Saints of God any way that he could! In fact, one night when Saul was on the Road to Damascus, to arrest and torture Christians, which was his mission in those days. In fact it was an ordinary task for him, and I would assume that he thought nothing of making the trip for the purpose of taking down the Saints of the Most Hight God.
As Saul got closer to Damascus, he saw a bright light from heaven flash around him. At that moment he fell off of his horse and hit the ground with great force. When he opened his eyes, Saul could see nothing. He realized that he was blind. He then heard a voice say, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me. “When he was able to speak, he inquired, “Who are you, Lord?” This was the beginning of Saul’s transformation from Saul the Persecutor of Saints, to Paul, a Lover of God and His People.
The Triune God Calls Us to a Life that Will Turn Villains into Saints
In fact, the bible is filled to overflowing with heroes, zeroes, and villains. It would be enlightening to look into the life of Saul of Tarsus, in the New Testament! Saul of Tarsus, was one that passionately worked to persecute Christians in his early years. He saw it as his mission to take down the faithful Saints of God!
But in one moment of one night, one night Saul traveling on His horse on the Road to Damascus. His mission in Damascus was to arrest and torture Christians; this was an ordinary task for him, and I would assume that he thought nothing of making the trip for the purpose of taking down the Saints of the Most Hight God.
As Saul got closer to Damascus, he saw a bright light from heaven flash around him. At that moment he fell off of his horse and hit the ground with great force. When he opened his eyes, Saul could see nothing. He realized that he was blind. He then heard a voice say, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” When he was able to speak, he inquired, “Who are you, Lord?” The Lord responded, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. Now, get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” (Acts 9:4-5)
In fact, Saul was the most wicked and ruthless persecutor of Christians in that day! It was his job and his passion to persecute and execute every Christian that he could lay his eyes, and his hands on! When he encountered the Lord, Saul was Transformed from a Prosecutor of Christians, to a Strong and Dedicated Godly Man. His transformation was Unprecedented.
Given Saul’s history when he was a staunch enemy of Christians, when he was transformed, Saul recognized that he had taken on a new identity after he had been visited by God. In fact, God told him that he would no longer be Saul, but he would carry a new name, “Paul the Apostle”. From that point on Saul’s name was transformed from the prosecutor of God’s chosen ones. to Paul the Apostle, one of God’s Chosen Saints! Like Saul, We Must Lay Our Lives Down in Exchange for God’s Purposes for Our Lives!
As I come to the closing paragraphs of this post, I would like to remind you that Jesus calls us from a life of working to make a living for ourselves, a life of comfort and ease, to a life that will ultimately transform and put us onto a pathway that will release a blazing light into our lives, that will ultimately consume the darkness that looms over our lives!
I will close with an encouraging quote from the Apostle James as he asks us to:
“Consider it all joy when we face trials and tribulations.”
In fact, joy happens when we go through the Challenge to the Place of Overcoming Absolute God Ordained Victory!