In 1896, an explorer named Carl Akeley found himself in a remote section of Ethiopia, chased by an eighty-pound leopard. He remembered the leopard pouncing, trying “to sink her teeth into my throat.” She missed, snagging his right arm with her vicious jaws. The two rolled in the sand—a long, fierce struggle. Akeley weakened, and “it became a question of who would give up first.” Summoning his last bit of strength, Akeley was able to suffocate the big cat with his bare hands.
The apostle Paul explained how each of us who believe in Jesus will inevitably encounter our own fierce struggles, those places where we feel overwhelmed and are tempted to surrender. Instead, we must take our “stand against the devil’s schemes” and “stand firm” (Ephesians 6:11, 14). Rather than cower in fear or crumble as we recognize our weakness and vulnerability, Paul challenged us to step forward in faith, remembering that we don’t rely on our own courage and strength but on God. “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power,” he wrote (v. 10). In the challenges we face, He’s only a prayer away (v. 18).
Yes, we have many struggles, and we’ll never escape them by our own power or ingenuity. But God is more powerful than any enemy or evil we’ll ever face.