I laid on a gurney in the post-op room, surrounded by empty beds and pulled back curtains. Soon the nurse would place my firstborn child in my arms, and I’d marvel at his tiny fingers, tuck him under my blanket, and bond skin to skin.
But that didn’t happen.
Instead, a man in green scrubs stood bed-lengths away and said something like, “Your son is not breathing well. We’re taking him to another hospital. We’ll know more later.”
And I laid there. Alone. Numb from the waist down with a barren womb and empty arms. Devastated. And for the first time in my faith journey, I didn’t know if I believed in God anymore.
I felt betrayed. Bamboozled. The God I believed in wouldn’t let this happen. But he did.
So, I cuddled my doubt. I imagined walking the journey of my son’s life and death situation, with God—or without him.
But the moment I turned my heart away from God, despair hurled me into cosmic quicksand. I called out to him in my soul. He grabbed my arm, pulled me out, and I flung into his chest.
I imagined his arms wrapped around my shoulders, pulling me close. My fists pounded into his ribs. And I wept. For hours.
I hated God for what he allowed. And I so desperately needed him.
Much of the following weeks looked the same. Fighting for faith as my son fought for his life.
When the Darkness Feels Thick
Do you ever struggle to stand firm on faith?
Life has moments where the darkness feels thicker than the light. Where questions feel louder than the answers. When jobs evaporate. Death takes. A pandemic divides us. And we have to fight to stand firm on faith.
It feels like such a battle—because it is a battle. Behind the cosmic curtain of the story of our lives, there is a cosmic spiritual battle between the forces of wickedness in the heavenly places and the forces of God.
Satan does not want us following and worshipping God and will do every means necessary to get us to stop trusting. Stop believing. Stop worshipping.
How can we stand firm on faith when life feels thin?
There is a way. Ephesians chapter six shows us how we can stand firm.
Ephesus was a bustling city under Roman rule. Soldiers marched through street-side markets where farmers sold olives and fresh goat. Merchants bartered incense and blacksmiths welded Artemis figurines for worship.
Roman armor was a common sight in town, much like golden arches along most of American highways. And their armor was massive. Layered metal, tall shields, crafted swords. Even the soldier’s leather shoes are mentioned to have been key for Roman expansion. They were so well made and fitted that they reportedly enabled Roman soldiers to walk further and remain stronger longer, as compared to their enemies.
This was some armor. And perhaps a perfect analogy for how we can stand firm against the enemy of our souls. How we can choose faith when the other voices are so loud?
The Armor of God
As you read the passage below, notice where each part of the armor of God comes from.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” – Ephesians 6:10-17, NASB
Did you notice that we are to be strong in the Lord? Every piece of the armor is what God supplies.
We are not called to stand firm in our own strength. We are called to stand firm in the strength of the Lord.
When self-help spirituality ends,
God’s power can begin genuine transformation.Seana Scott
How Can We Stand Firm in the Strength of the Lord?
If we look at the pieces of the armor of God, we see that each piece is who God is, what God says, and/or what God does.
So, how can we put these pieces on?
- Belt of Truth: Know God’s word. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
- Breastplate of Righteousness: Believe in the work of Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21)
- Feet prepared with the Gospel of Peace: Learn the gospel story deeply. (Acts 3:11-26)
- Helmet of salvation: Turn to God in faith in Christ. (Acts 16:31)
- Shield of faith: Ask God for faith when you lack it. (Mk. 9:23-35)
- Sword of the Spirit: Know God’s word. (Matt. 4:1-11)
God’s Strength in My Battle
When my newborn son was whisked away from me, doctors discovered a hole in his diaphragm. His intestines were up in his lung cavity.
They transferred him to an acute NICU and three days later I saw him. Swollen. Tubed. Strapped down and inside a plastic box. I felt so lost. Helpless.
But my husband and I chose to remember who God is. We chose to read our Bibles to remember what God says and does.
We reminded ourselves of the truth at every turn so we didn’t lose our way.
It’s not easy sometimes to stand firm in the armor of God. It takes diligence.
Constantly renewing our minds and hearts with truth is like an unending job of weed-pulling. But it is worth the effort to not let the enemy overtake the garden of our souls.
The more we know God’s word, believe God’s word, and live God’s word, the more the enemy cannot invade the plot land of our hearts .
Victory in My Battle
After a month in the NICU we brought home our feisty fighter of a boy. He is my daily reminder of my fight for faith. I am thankful that I choose to stand firm in the truths of who God is and what he has done.
God’s Strength in Your Battle
Do you every wonder if you believe God anymore? If you haven’t, you will. The testing of our faith is a part of the Christian life.
There are times for all of us when everything swirls in our soul and we wonder if our faith will make it out alive in the battle.
It can. It will. If we do not depend on ourselves. If we do not depend on seeing God through the NasDaq, our job application, our cancer diagnosis.
If we remind ourselves of: Who God is, What God says, and what God has done (and will do).
Friend, turn to God. Whatever the battle, he is ready to be your source of strength. Pray. Weep. Pound your fists into his chest and let him hold you.