Job loss. Global pandemic. COVID-19 killing thousands. Racial injustices. Knees on necks. Anxiety. Depression. Social distancing loneliness. Sexual harassment. School bullying. It’s just one thing after another. Maybe you wonder if God is even paying attention.
We all face discouragement. We try our best, only to be humiliated in front of our coworkers by a toxic boss who leaves us feeling unappreciated and discarded. We toil to make our marriages work, only to feel frustrated because nothing is changing. We give and serve at church, only to have our jaws hit the floor when we learn of members’ gossip and betrayal.
It’s a good thing that what God says about us is sufficient. The moment I realized this I stopped wearing myself out trying to prove to people that which can’t be proven. I can allow people to be wrong about me because God is right about me. Even so, the devil continues to mess with my head—in typical satanic style.
Days ago after getting out of the shower, I stood on the bathroom mat toweling off. Before I could dry off, water shot up from behind the toilet. I struggled to maintain my balance on the wet tile floor as I bent over and reached behind the toilet. I tried to grab the water valve, but with a fire hydrant of toilet water blasting my nose, eyes, and mouth, I could see nothing. I felt powerless.
My husband rushed in to turn off the water valve. After I finally got myself and the bathroom cleaned up, I thought about how that gushing water was more than I could handle.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by spiritual warfare? That the onslaught of fiery arrows were more than you could bear? That a demon in a yellow raincoat was hosing you down with toilet water, Dalmatian by his side? (Just kidding. Dogs and demons don’t mix). We can take such a defensive posture, ducking the enemy’s non-stop fiery arrows (or in my case, non-stop toilet water up my nose) that we lose sight of the reason God has us here.
I believe the devil actually uses more covert tactics in trying to derail us from God’s plan. He gets us to find contentment and happiness anywhere outside of Jesus. And he’s so sneaky about it that we miss it. And when the idols of family, career, or ministry fail us (as the Bible warns idols will) the enemy tries to convince us we should pack up and give up. He gets our attention so off of Christ and so onto our circumstances that it prevents us from finding deep heart and soul fulfillment in accomplishing God’s will.
I eat green stuff, avoid smoking, limit my alcohol consumption to one glass of Moscato every month (if that), take daily Vitamin D3, drink a half gallon of water daily, and exercise. And I’m seeing an oncologist. Looks like I have control over very little.
Second Corinthians Chapter 4 offers an encouraging explanation: We are not crushed, not in despair, not abandoned, and not destroyed. So let’s not lose heart. These light and momentary troubles are just a blip on the screen. I dream of heaven. The Bible promises that our earthly troubles will pale in comparison to it.
God is not random. What he allows has meaning and purpose. The Bible depicts story after story of his redemption and restoration. Trying times try us. The necessary growth and change may not feel great. But what feels worse is remaining outside of God’s will.
I think of a verse from a favorite song, “…and even though it all went wrong, I’ll stand before the Lord of song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.” We will suffer. The world is watching. Let’s suffer well.