BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah as wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan Aram, the sister of Laban the Syrian. Now Isaac pleaded with the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived. But the children struggled together within her; and she said, ‘If all is well, why am I like this?’ So she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said to her: ‘Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; One people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger” (Genesis 25:20-23 NKJV).
“It is well” is a common statement among Christians. Even non-believers have started making this wonderful statement too. But “It is well” means different things to different people. Some say it to express their faith in God that He is in control even when things may seem to be out of control. Some others make this statement for want of what to say – it’s a meaningless cliché.
Sometimes when people are going through trials or difficult times, and you tell them, in faith, “It is well,” it takes faith for them to say “Amen.” The natural reaction is to doubt if really it is well. How can it be well when someone has been trusting God for the fruit of the womb, healing, employment, husband or wife, etc. for five, ten, or more years? How can it be well? Doesn’t that amount to lying or a denial of reality?
In Genesis 25:20-23 above, Rebekah had been barren for years and after Isaac, the husband, had cried to the Lord, he answered him and the wife became pregnant. But soon what was supposed to be a thing of joy after a long wait turned out to be a source of discomfort and pain. The babies in her womb began to struggle so much that she wondered, “If all is well, why am I like this?” Instead of rejoicing over the long-awaited pregnancy, she was complaining because of the negative feeling she was having. She wasn’t enjoying the pregnancy at all. She said, “If this is the way it’s going to be, why go on living” (verse 22 TM). That means she didn’t mind dying! That was serious. You won’t die with that pregnancy in Jesus’ name. No matter your current travail, you won’t die without fulfilling your destiny.
But thank God, Rebekah went to enquire of the Lord why though all was supposed to be well, all didn’t appear to be well. The Lord answered her that two nations were in her womb; one nation would be stronger than the other, and the older would serve the younger.
Please, note that Rebekah wanted just the pregnancy of a baby but God gave her two nations! That was the reason for the struggle she was experiencing in her womb. So there was no reason for her to contemplate death! All was still well even when it seemed all wasn’t well.
In Gen 15, Abraham was so worried that he would die without a son, and Eliezer of Damascus, his most trusted servant, would inherit all the wealth he had. He lamented, “O Sovereign LORD, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since I don’t have a son, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no children, so one of my servants will have to be my heir” (Genesis 15:2-3 NLT). But God had a different plan. Whereas Abraham wanted just a son, God’s plan for him was to give him descendants as many as the stars in the sky and as many as the sand on the seashore (Genesis 15:5, 22:16-18). And God fulfilled the promise he made to Abraham in this regard. God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20). This season, the Lord shall give you more than you desire; God’s answer to your prayers shall surpass your expectation.
You may be experiencing some struggles in your life despite the promises of God or prophecies upon your life. You may be going through some experiences that seem to negate all that God has said concerning you. The pain, the troubles, the adversities you’re going through may just be because of what God wants to birth through you. Maybe you’ve been saying, “All is well” all along, but your endurance is getting to a breaking point, and you’re almost saying you’ve been deceiving yourself. You’re saying like Rebekah “If all is well, why am I like this?” Where is the fulfillment of all the prophecies, all the promises of God? V. Raymond Edman said, “Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light.” No matter the current darkness, if God says all is well, all is well, and all shall be well.
There’s a great destiny you’re carrying, a great destiny you must give birth to. The ‘pregnancy’ may cause you some pain and even the delivery may not be enjoyable but in the end, it shall be well. Therefore, you must avoid negative speaking, evil speaking – saying what God hasn’t said or isn’t saying. Don’t let the devil change your faith confession because of the negative feelings you’re having. Mark 11:23 says if you believe that those things you say will be done, you’ll have whatever you say. Never doubt that all is well because all is well even if it doesn’t seem so.
The Shunammite Woman’s Faith
I want you to compare Rebekah’s story to that of the Shunammite woman. Whereas Rebekah had a pregnancy, which expectedly should lead to the birth of a new baby, the Shunammite woman lost to the cruel hand of death the only child she got via a miracle after several years of waiting meaning she would become childless except another miracle happened. That certainly was the work of the devil!
These two women were in pain but each of them had different attitudes to their problem. Rebekah who should be hopeful because she was expecting two babies was complaining, “If all is well why am I like this?” But the Shunammite woman said it was well despite the fact that the devil had just killed her only child. She refused to believe that she had lost the child; she believed a miracle was still possible – for with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
2 Kings 4:25-27 records the Shunammite woman’s response of faith: “And so she departed, and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel. So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, ‘Look, the Shunammite woman! Please run now to meet her, and say to her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’ And she answered, ‘It is well’” (NKJV). Because of this woman’s faith in God and in the ministry of the man of God, Elisha, her son was restored to life. Indeed, all was well as she had confessed. Align your words with the Word of God, not with your negative circumstances. Let God be true and let every contrary circumstance be a liar!
When Gideon interrogated an angel
Israel had been under the cruel oppression of the Midianites for seven years because of their sin. They had become impoverished because the Midianites, together with the Amalekites and the people of the East, would come up with their livestock and their tents as numerous as locusts, enter their land, and destroy all they had planted. Then, one day, the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!” (Judges 6:12 NKJV) Of course, Gideon must have felt the angel was talking to the wrong person – a case of mistaken identity! “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 forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites’” (Judges 6:13 NKJV). Gideon was, in other words, saying, “If all is well, why are we like this?”
Gideon reacted that way because his condition and, indeed, that of the Israelites didn’t portray that the Lord was with them. How could the LORD be with him, and how could he be a mighty man of valour when he, like other Israelites, was living in fear of the enemy? The enemy destroyed his crops at will, and Gideon had to thresh his wheat in the winepress instead of in the threshing floor, in order to hide it from the Midianites. His circumstance didn’t reflect that of someone who carried the presence of the LORD! He didn’t feel like the LORD was with them. But the assurance of the LORD’s presence is more than feeling! The LORD was with them, notwithstanding their circumstances. They were only suffering for their sin; but having cried to the LORD, He had come to deliver them (Judges 6:1, 7). “Then the LORD turned to him and said, ‘Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?’” (Judges 6:14 NKJV)Though Gideon didn’t feel like the LORD was with him, He used him eventually to deliver the Israelites from their seven-year oppression. That oppression in your life ends today in Jesus’ name.
What to know when all doesn’t seem to be well
1.No condition is permanent. Every condition, good or bad, is temporary; life itself is transient. Only God doesn’t change. That your negative condition will not continue forever.
Rebekah was barren, but a time came when she became pregnant. When she was barren, she was complaining; when she became pregnant, she was also complaining because of the discomfort she was going through. But she needed to know that that the discomfort would also pass away; it had a lifespan, with an expiry date. So she shouldn’t have allowed herself to be frustrated to utter a statement of unbelief. Likewise, your problem has a lifespan; it shall soon pass away.
1 Peter 5:10 says, “After you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation” (NLT). A little while means a short period. The Message says, “The suffering won’t be long …” Every child of God should know that every negative condition they’re in now is temporary; it won’t last long; it shall pass away. So they should cultivate a positive attitude while it lasts. No condition is permanent. Paul said his light affliction was but for a moment – temporary (2 Corinthians 4:17). Yours can’t last forever. All is well.
2. Struggles are part of life. Life is in seasons (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). Daniel 2:21 says God changes times and the seasons. You may be in your season of struggle now – the ‘babies’ in your womb are struggling. Some people you know maybe in a similar condition or have exited theirs or are preparing to enter their season of struggles. Struggles can either be normal (natural) or satanic. But neither of them should last forever.
The struggle is proof that that the babies inside you – your dream, your vision, your destiny – are still alive; it’s proof that you’re alive and going somewhere. The dead don’t struggle. Struggles are signs that there’s something good, something precious, inside you to be brought forth. Nobody throws stones at a fruitless tree! Struggles that are demonic in nature, you must deal with spiritually.
3. The LORD is with you and for you. There’s nothing you’re going through that God doesn’t know about. Sometimes He is behind it; sometimes He just allows it. It wasn’t the devil that put Rebekah’s pregnancy there – God ordained it. So He knew about the struggles and the pains she was going through. That is true about your life too. You didn’t determine your destiny – God did before you were born as He told Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:4-10). He knows all the struggles associated with birthing your destiny.
But some people can be going through some struggles, pains or suffering because of their rebelliousness, sin or mistakes. Psalm 68:6 says the rebellious dwell in a dry land. Those whose struggles, pains, suffering are self-inflicted need to repent and ask for God’s forgiveness and move forward with their lives in obedience to God. God forgives when we sincerely repent and confess our sins (1 John 19). Struggles caused by Satan must be fought against with all spiritual weapons of warfare (2 Corinthians 10:4).
However, every child of God must be comforted by the truth that God knows what he’s going through and the LORD is with him. He says in Psalm 91:15 that He would be with you in trouble and will deliver you and honor you. God has promised never to leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5; Deuteronomy 4:31; 1 Samuel 12:22; 1 Kings 6:13). If God be for you, nobody and nothing can be against you (Romans 8:31).
4. God is more concerned about the fulfillment of His purpose for your life than your will and comfort. What is important to God is His will not your own will. Jesus exemplified this in his ministry; He promoted God’s will above His own will and comfort (Matthew 6:10; Luke 22:42; Matthew 26:39, 42; John 5:30; John 6:38-39; Hebrews 10:7-9). Don’t elevate your comfort above His will.
Babies and children always seek comfort and happiness; children don’t mind attending birthday parties everyday! But mature people seek to do what is needful no matter the cost.
God’s will, at times, comes with struggles. Pain is, sometimes, the price you have to pay to achieve His purpose for your life. No pain, no gain! You can’t fulfill your destiny or become all that God wants you to be in life without some discomfort or pain. Shakespeare says, “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
There’s the discomfort of carrying a pregnancy; bringing forth a child also involves travailing (labour) (Genesis 35:16; 38:28; 1 Samuel 4:19; Isaiah 13:8; 42:14, 66:7-8; Jeremiah 31:8; Micah 5:3). What is true about child delivery is also true about destiny or dream delivery! You can’t escape labour.
You must, therefore, learn to endure the struggles, pains,
and discomfort associated with what God is working to achieve in your life. You must learn to resist the devil (James 4:7).
In Exo 18:8, Moses told his father-in-law, among other things, the travail or hardship the Israelites went through. You cannot leave Egypt and get to your Promised Land without travailing. 2 Timothy 4:5 says you should endure afflictions. You must endure hardship as good soldiers of Christ (2 Timothy 2:3). This is part of the sacrifice you must make.
5. Your life is not about you alone. You must look beyond yourself. Many times, people are self-centred.
Yes, Rebekah was having struggles and she felt all was not well with her. What’s happening? Why is this happening to me? But her life wasn’t about herself only. There’re two boys, two nations, inside her, for whose sake she must endure that struggle. God told me years ago that if you live for yourself alone, you’ll die a small person! You must experience some struggles for some people whose destinies are tied to yours. Rebekah must allow the boys inside her to struggle and must bring them forth. You’re a tool in God’s hands. You don’t exist for yourself. God wants to use you to achieve His purpose on earth. Unfortunately, however, many are just concerned about themselves alone.
You are God’s battle-ax and weapons of war. “You are My battle-ax and weapons of war: For with you I will break the nation in pieces; With you I will destroy kingdoms; With you I will break in pieces the horse and its rider; With you I will break in pieces the chariot and its rider; With you also I will break in pieces man and woman; With you I will break in pieces old and young; With you I will break in pieces the young man and the maiden; With you also I will break in pieces the shepherd and his flock; With you I will break in pieces the farmer and his yoke of oxen; And with you I will break in pieces governors and rulers” (Jeremiah 51:20-23 NKJV). You’re to make yourself available for God to use you for His intended purposes.
That was Jesus did when he came to die for the sins of the world. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (NKJV). Let God use you to bless others. Don’t be selfish. Love is not selfish – not self-seeking (1 Corinthians 13:5). You inconvenience yourself for those you love. God is love (1 John 4:8). His children should therefore love. Paul told the Corinthians, “Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools, but you are so wise! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are well thought of, but we are laughed at. To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, without enough clothes to keep us warm. We have endured many beatings, and we have no homes of our own. We have worked wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. We respond gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash – right up to the present moment” (1 Corinthians 4:10-13 NLT).
6. Be positive. Think positively. A pregnant woman who is thinking about babies in her womb is engaging in positive thinking. Another pregnant woman, who is overly focusing on the discomforts and pains, associated with the struggle of the baby, is engaging in negative thinking. You must not lose the joy of being pregnant, expecting a baby, because of the discomfort you’re experiencing from the struggles of the baby.
As he thinks in his heart, so he is (Proverbs 23:7). Engage in thought control (Philippians 4:8). Whatever you meditate on will eventually be magnified. In your struggles, meditate on the positives. Thinking about the good things that you can see in your period of trials, pains, discomfort or struggles helps to minimize their impact on you – you’re not weighed down by anything.
As we’ve seen, Rebekah said, “If this is the way it’s going to be, why go on living?” (Genesis 25:22 TM) Suicide becomes attractive to people who talk like that. That’s not the right attitude to maintain in your struggles. I’m sure Rebekah wouldn’t like to remember she said that. Watch what you say when you’re going through the pain of struggles; you may regret saying it.
Don’t throw away the baby with the birth water. Don’t, by your negative thinking and negative words, abort the birth of the good thing God has planted in you. Choose to live; don’t choose to die – no matter the pain, stress or suffering. Psalm 118:17 says, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD” (NKJV). There is light at the end of the tunnel for you. Weeping may last through the night but joy comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5).
7. Maintain an unbroken fellowship with God. Only God has perfect understanding of what you’re going through. You may or may not be able to describe your condition. Sometimes some people don’t even know how to describe what is wrong with them but they just know all is not well. Even if you can describe your condition, what you’re experiencing, you may not know why. But God knows the why of your condition. That’s why you must not fail to maintain an unbroken fellowship with God even in your struggles. Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Continue steadfastly in prayer (Romans 12:12). Pray fervently (James 5:17). Pray in faith (James 1:6). Pray with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6; Psalm 100:4).
We must commend Rebekah. Yes, she said, “If all is well, why am I like this?” But she went to enquire of the LORD (Genesis 25:22), and the LORD told her what she didn’t know before. There was no ultrasound scan machine that time! Even if at that time there was a way of knowing she was carrying a pregnancy of twins, she wouldn’t have known the two boys would become two nations and that the older would serve the younger. But Rebekah knew these details because she went to enquire from the LORD in fellowship.
Many people, who’re going through life’s struggles, talk to everybody except the most important person – God. Unfortunately, that’s why their condition persists. They don’t have God’s perspective of their condition; they receive only human perspective, which may be the exact opposite of God’s. Their advisers give them wrong diagnosis and equally make wrong prescriptions.
Discussing your life’s struggles with people is not wrong, but be sure they’re the right people – those whose lives are rooted in and guided by the Word of God and principles of the Bible, and are controlled by the Spirit of God. You don’t want to jump out of the frying pan into the fire. Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly (Psalm 1:1).
Conclusion: Put the Word of God in your mouth; be obedient to His word. Don’t be moved by what situations are saying. Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper (2 Chronicles 20:20). If God says it is well, it is well. Don’t be confused. Don’t give up! (2 Corinthians 4:8) “All is well, yes, all is well with you. And all’s well with whoever helps you. Yes, for your God has helped you and does help you” (1 Chronicles 12:18 TM). All shall be well with you in Jesus’ name.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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