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A Hedge of Protection
By Joel Osteen - Mar 08, 2024

In California’s Sequoia National Park are magnificent sequoia trees that are over three hundred feet tall and two thousand years old. What’s significant is that the sequoia’s cones are full of seeds that are locked up inside, and fire dries out the cones, enabling them to crack open and deposit their seeds on the forest floor. Then the seeds germinate and become what they were created to be. The fire is necessary for new growth.

In a similar way, there are seeds that are locked up in you—seeds of favor, seeds of greatness, seeds of purpose. The only way they’ll come out is through fire—the business slows, a friend walks away, the medical report isn’t good. It’s easy to get discouraged, but God won’t allow a difficulty unless He has a purpose for it. There is potential locked up in you, gifts and talents that will only come out through times when it’s uncomfortable and you don’t understand.

In the Scripture, Satan wanted to test Job’s faith, but God had a hedge of protection around Job. The enemy couldn’t just go in and overwhelm him with adversity. This shows us that adversity is a controlled burn, that the enemy can’t touch you without God’s permission. Job loved God and walked in integrity, but he suffered all this trouble and lost his business, his health, his family. He got so discouraged that he sat down among the ashes. But at one point, Job got his passion back, looked up to the heavens, and said, “I know that my Redeemer lives” (Job 19:25). He was saying, “God, I don’t understand why this happened, but I trust You.” God not only restored Job’s health but gave him double his possessions and a long and fulfilling life with his family.

You may feel as though you’re sitting in the ashes now, and you’re thinking, “God, what’s going on? This trouble is setting me back.” No, it’s setting you up. What you can’t see is that you’re about to see new growth, new opportunities, new talent. It couldn’t happen without the fire. The fire is opening up things that you would have never discovered. The right attitude is: “God, I don’t like it, but I trust You. I know You’re in control. You wouldn’t have allowed this difficulty unless it was making me better.”

God will not mismanage your life. He knows how much heat you can handle. If that fire was going to burn you up, He wouldn’t have allowed it. You’re well able, you’re strong in the Lord, and you’re full of can-do power. That fire is releasing you into new levels. The fire is a part of God’s plan so you can become everything you were created to be.

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