A Spiritual Battle in Hindsight
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
It is remarkable what hindsight and an abundance of faith does for the perspective of a believer.
Two weeks ago, I was in a spiritual battle. While in it, all I knew was that I had the sense I was sinking. I had trouble breathing, and there was darkness closing in around me. I was filled with doubt and losing trust in the promise God had given me. It honestly felt like I was being buried alive, the dirt slowly filling up a deep hole that I occupied, and the more the dirt packed the hole, the less I was able to move and lift myself out.
This was the enemy, shoveling in doubt, piling on fear, heaping on confusion. In a weakened state, trying to toss out handfuls on my own, I was incapable of fighting this losing battle. That’s how he works. He places a barrier between us and the God who is the Strength and Power in our weakness. The enemy blinds us, deafens us in our lowest ebb. We cannot see, we cannot hear God’s quiet whisper in the cacophony of internal shouts: “It’s impossible. It won’t work. You won’t make it. Give it up. You’re not worth it.” I was depressed, angry, afraid. I lost heart.
Until our God rescues us, until we are still, until He touches our heart.
While I continued to pray through that time, I remembered that God is faithful. I remembered that Jesus said, “You will have troubles.” I remembered that there would be a light…eventually. When God touched my heart, I began to rise. I began to see His light, faint as it was. I began to focus on the whisper. I began to find my courage. And the lion faded into the background.
“You won’t let any lion talk you out of what your God says you can do. When you have unstoppable courage you don’t look at the lions; you look at God who says, ‘All things are possible.’”
On this side of the battle, I know that I am a warrior, I am an overcomer.
Prayer must be a constant adornment, a perpetual weapon we must wear to be a conqueror. We cannot expect to pray only when we are in need, only when we are in fear. We must pray daily, giving honor and respect to our God who never abandons us. Our faith must be as steadfast as His love. If we abandon Him, we are left to the voice and the wiles of the one who will put us back in the chains of fear, doubt, and the irresistible urge toward the ego of self-reliance. And that is what separates us from others, and ultimately, from Him.
God created us to be in relationship, to depend upon one another, to understand that we are not alone. It has taken me five decades to learn there is no shame in asking for help – there is strength in calling others to my side. It is a gift I give, and one I now receive with grace. Had I not learned this, I would still be in that struggle, still be covered in the dirt and mud of self-denial, of the ego of self-reliance, never stretching my hand out in humility.
I am at my most humble when I understand it is why God sent His Son – to rescue us, to reconcile us to Himself, to let us know that He is the Ultimate Warrior. He is the One who conquered the enemy; he told us this on the cross when he said, “It is finished.” That was a statement not of sadness, but of triumph. That is why we must be faithful to Him.