I was sitting on the lawn chair hearing him crowd out my thoughts. He wanted me to look down at my feet and see how limited they were, how clumsy, how immovable.
He wanted me to stay stuck, frozen, unable to advance an inch—if even to make dinner. Because he loves to tell me this:
“You can’t do this. How on earth will you pull it off? You couldn’t even rescue yourself. You can’t manage this. This family member’s illness is greater than you. It will swallow you whole. And, by the way, you are always worth abandoning. Nobody will be there for you.”
Over and over again. The whispers. The racing of my mind.
I couldn’t move. Everything felt like an epic fail. As much practice as I’ve had advocating for people in my life with various struggles to get the help that they need, I had hit a brick wall.
All my knowledge. All my connections. All my training. All my experience.
Over the course of many months of trying to troubleshoot a medical problem in our lives, all related side dishes of comorbid conditions piled up like unfinished moldy fare at a banquet. The heavier the pile, the harder to see the real issue. Know the feeling?
This could really be about anything physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional in our lives, right? That great overwhelm?
And when we stare at that pile-up of complications and other nonsense, the face walking across the water toward us, reaching out a hand, calling us to trust is hard to see, right?
Then along comes the liar with his discouragement. And we suck it down with a straw because that’s the immediate food being fed us, and let’s face it: We can be very faithless and weak. We are fast-track, fast-food, fast-answers. Immediate intake. No filters.
“You can’t do this. You aren’t strong. There is no hope. This will not change. You are forever enslaved to this uncertainty. Prayer does not matter.”
But this voice is not of God. It is from the enemy of our souls, whose entire preoccupation is to keep us from listening to and looking toward Christ, the hope of glory.
The enemy of our souls is real and walks this earth right now.
Job 1:7, ESV
The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”
The enemy is a liar.
John 8:44, ESV
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
The enemy’s job is to distract us from Jesus.
2 Corinthians 4:4, ESV
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
But here’s the truth.
God comes walking toward us, calling out:
“Hey, Bonnie, I’m here? See me walking on the water toward you? You’re never alone with me. I said: ‘I will never leave you or forsake you,’ and I never have. Not once. Not ever.”
In the privacy of my tiny backyard gazebo, I had raged. I spoke words that I wouldn’t say on Sunday, ya know what I mean? The kind you bleep out on Christian radio. I probably put King David to shame in all his raw, bare honesty in the Psalms. I GROANED and cried out. I used a few coarse expressions from my teen years, which I’m not proud of, but I “got honest.”
And that is exactly the place where the devil’s voice blurs into static. It’s in the desperate plea to heaven, when we lay it all bare. When we get real with God. When we say: “I can see the potential in this person. What on EARTH are You doing here? Can’t you see this precious heart? Don’t you want to smack anything and everything making it suffer?”
And He hears and stands with us. We are NOT alone.
Isaiah 43:1-4, ESV
But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.”
When the earth quakes beneath you, and the enemy is spewing negative toxins into your ear, remember this:
We have everything we need in Christ to defeat “devil thinking” and remember our Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Psalm 144:1, ESV
Blessed be the Lord, my rock,
who trains my hands for war,
and my fingers for battle…
He gave Himself in exchange for your life. Look up. See the Savior walking toward you. And, with everything you’ve got, tell that pathetic enemy voice to shut up.
You are NOT alone.
*This blog was first a featured post at Your Tewksbury Today.
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