In the last couple of weeks the load of illness, suffering and evil in lives of those I care about became too heavy. With so much cruelty, sexual and physical abuse, alienation, infertility, and death damaging even families working to live God’s way, I despaired. Caring deeply about others, feeling intense compassion and extended intercession sounds very spiritual, and it usually is. But, like any good thing, it can have a downside. At the end of a long day, dead tired, I wondered, why do we keep trying?
Then I opened my Bible.
My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand. The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief.
It helps to recall that we have an enemy who works hard to destroy us. But evil cannot win.
I love how God drops bits of comfort just when I need it.
A signpost when I’m floundering.
Encouragement when I’m too far down to pick myself up.
In the morning, I received an email with a portion of Ephesians 6:10-16,.
In THE MESSAGE it is titled, A Fight to the Finish.
God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life.
We often straddle two worlds, this tangible, visible one, and the as yet unseen eternal world, where a very real battle rages on.
I need to remember that this life will not be easy, the outcome often will not be what we hoped for, the cure will not always come and little ones are not always protected.
But we are still in God’s hands.
Those are the hands to which I run for comfort.
I lay my burdens down, again, and throw myself into the only arms that can hold me securely, the only hands strong enough for my prayers.
Then my tears turn to praise. I lift my eyes and blink them clear. My soul fills with light.
It really is good to dwell in the house of the Lord.
Here on earth, that is wherever we praise him.
However we turn to thanksgiving.
Whenever we let go of what we want or need, and smile at the abundance we already have.
I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness
in the exuberant earth.
Stay with God!
Take heart. Don’t quit.
I’ll say it again:
Stay with God.
Now, I return to prayer again, but this time remembering to stand on the rock, to pray in his power,
and I pray this prayer for you, my friend.
My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
Eph 3:14-19 THE MESSAGE