The following post I wrote almost a year ago to the day. The neat thing for me is to read this and see where I was then and where I am now. Feelings do change. Time does bring healing. And I love reading this in light of where God has brought me from and where we are heading in the future. As always, I pray all of you can relate to these themes!
In previous posts I have made several references to a thorn, a battle, a recurring stronghold in my life. When I sat down to write this morning (with a hot cup of coffee nearby, and yes, before the sun was up) the continued temptation is what I wanted to sort through again. I wanted to tell you everything that has happened, every decision, and the way that chapter of my life ended…or is trying to end. I realize now that while for all intents and purposes the battle is behind me, it could easily creep back in with one poor choice. I wanted to tell you that I still feel attacked by Satan and honestly, how frustrating it is that I do not feel absolute freedom for choosing to do what I know is right.
But if I continue to live with my focus on the temptation (no matter how great or small) I cannot be focused on what God has done…what He has brought me through. Remember Philippians 3: forgetting what is behind, straining towards what is ahead, and having such a view if we are mature? Instead of being frustrated that my feelings have not completely followed the wise choices, I want recount some of the ways that God intervened in a situation. I want to focus on the victories instead of my feelings. I am confident that if you are reading this you can relate. Think about your own thorn. Then remember the times that God stepped in and you didn’t even realize it. For me, the following were the means God used to speak to me and to remove the film from my clouded sight.
- Oh, the importance of brothers and sisters in Christ! I had several friends literally across the world who were fighting for me in prayer. I have one friend, Sarah, in the Peace Corp. With her living in a village 2 hours from the nearest road our communication is limited to say the least. But she spoke truth to me in her emails. And she battled hard in prayer.
- I have another friend, Lauren, who lives in Tennessee. One weekend she decided last minute to spend the weekend with her parents who just “happened” to be going to Florida. This may not sound like a big deal but we had seen each other for only 1 hour in 4 years. Plus a trip of that distance with her parents was rare, especially last minute. Her visit was healing and one of several turning points. She had no idea how much I needed her, and we stood amazed that God had brought her.
- The friend who was with me day in and day out was my best friend, Carolyne. Talk about God speaking through a friend! Words really cannot describe what it is like to have a sister you trust enough to allow her to think for you when your judgment is so clouded you cannot think for yourself. She spoke truth in love time and time again. She cried with me when I felt my heart being torn and she rejoiced with me when I slowly started gaining more victories. I am sure that my story would read very differently if it were not for God’s work through Carolyne.
Surround yourself with brothers and sisters in Christ. Not just the ones who make you feel good but the ones who care more about your soul than your friendship, who know speaking truth trumps telling you what you want to hear. Your life depends on it. Is that too bold? I truly believe it.
- Communication with God. The God of the universe, the Alpha and Omega, has an interest in YOU…in me. He loved us so much that he sent Jesus to die. We can now be reconciled to God and through this we have access to his throne room. It would be interesting to know how many hours I spent discussing this battle with God. He never left. There were times I thought he would just give up on me because I couldn’t get my act together. Through this I have come to realize that he desires that relationship with us. We can talk to him as we would a friend or a father. I have come to appreciate this communion. There are times that we need someone with flesh on-and that is what our friends are for. There are other times we need to commune with our Creator. He has given us His Spirit and a High Priest who intercede for us. What could be better than that?
- My husband. What an incredible man. To be able to open up to your spouse about deep struggles and receive only love is healing. In my very short 4 ½ years of marriage I have learned that we do not always “feel” like loving our spouse. Stuart has shown with his actions that love is a choice. I have not been the easiest person to live with and have made learning to become one much harder than it should have been. A godly husband fills in a lot of gaps. If you have a husband like this thank God for him.
- Unexplained events. “Divine intervention” is another way to put this. There were times (many more than I realized) when something just “didn’t work out”. There were other times when I literally stood back and watched God completely remove me from a situation. A surprise visit from a friend, a sudden change in plans, a call from a family member, a song on the radio, or an unexpected recollection of a truth from scripture are just a few ways that God shows his active role in our lives.
Today I want to encourage you with this: get your eyes off your battle and toward God’s mercies. Satan is battling for our souls but God is fighting even more. Shift your eyes! See the way he is working. God is active. And acknowledging this makes all the difference.
God is active. And acknowledging this makes all the difference.