A young woman sat in my office wringing her hands in anguish over all the bad things she was experiencing in her life. To
her, anything that could go wrong had gone wrong, and this had undermined her faith in the Word of God. My task as her
pastor was to restore her confidence in God with the Truth. Let us remind ourselves that it is the knowledge of the Truth
that sets us free. (John 10:10) On that day I saw how powerfully true this promise is.

 “Sally” fell into an error in her beliefs that brought on this temporary despair. Actually, her error was one that I often see
in believers and it always has similar results. The error is that people believe if they love and serve Jesus they will not
encounter adversity. I call this the “living in the tulips” doctrine; it is a life of always enjoying the floral-scented existence
of a life without challenges.

 Of course, the truth is that no such place exists. If such a utopia were possible here on earth, the Bible would tell us
about it. However, the Word does not promise a life without challenges and adversities.  On the contrary, God tells us
clearly in Scripture there will be adversities, persecutions, and all kinds of challenges in this life. I wish I could find that
biblical promise that assures us of a carefree life, but in all of my years of studying the Word of God no such promise has
ever emerged. What I have found is that Isaiah tells us that we will go through the fire! Jesus declares there will be
adversities we will encounter! James admonishes us to count it all joy when we are faced with trials! So the bottom line is
that to believe the “living in the tulips” doctrine is folly.

 Sally told me that one of her favorite verses of Scripture is II Corinthians 2:14. She loved to quote this powerful promise
as a daily confession, but she failed to actually read and understand what it says. She focused on the part of the verse that
speaks of triumph, not realizing that any triumph first requires a battle. Apart from a battle, there is no triumph. Victory
happens because something or someone is defeated. In the “tulip bed” there is no battle; therefore, there is no possibility
of triumph.

 Let us not stop at this point with just accepting that trials, adversities, and persecutions await us here on earth. To do so
is to negate the powerful promises of God that relates to His covenant people who encounter tough times. Yes, He tells
us these rough times will happen, but each time we see another promise of victory. Over and over again God reinforces
the truth that
it is in the fire that we see victory, not by avoiding it. That is why His promise is He will be with you in the time
of trouble
and that He will get you to the other side when the waters of life are about to overwhelm you.

 Jesus teaches us to ask that we not be led into temptation, and we read where God goes before us to make the way for
us. So it is good to ask God to remove obstacles and quench the fires ahead; but when you find yourself in the midst of
the battle that is no time to squeal and cry. That is the time to rise up in faith in the might of Almighty God and stand in the
authority of the name of Jesus to defeat whatever challenge you are facing. You will discover that God’s Word is true, that
indeed He will always lead you in triumph in Christ! You were divinely designed to be a warrior, not a tulip garden
specialist, so in the heat of the battle, stand strong and win! Amen.

"Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ,
       and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place."
                                                                                    II Corinthians 2:14