I used to think that I was exempt from difficult times in my new life in Christ as long as lived a righteous life. Boy, was I wrong… The Bible states in 2 Timothy 3:12 (NIV), “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
You see, we live in a fallen world ruled by Satan thanks to Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden at the beginning of time. Because Adam fell, we have to realize that we would certainly do the same thing if we were him. The problems we face in this life are a direct result of that fall. All sins have consequences that will affect the sinner and other people. And, because we all are sinners (Romans 3:23), we all will ultimately face death. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23, NLT).
This year alone, I tasted death when my oldest cousin murdered my grandfather in his new home. Through visions, dreams, and common sense, I knew that destruction was coming. It’s just a whole different experience witnessing it all manifest in the physical world.
As a result of my grandfather’s tragic death, my mother’s condition progressed (schizophrenia)[demonic oppression/possession]. She returned back to the mental ward and at this point, all I can do is pray for her.
To top it all off, my husband’s health is taking a toll on him and I. He was diagnosed with a neurological problem while playing college football a few years ago. He caught it a bit early, but now he is going through the fire, trusting Jesus to fight this battle so that he will overcome.
Let’s just say that I have been humbled. I have accepted God’s word as true in every aspect of my life. I had to face the fact that there WILL be trials and tribulations in this life. Thankfully, Jesus overcame them all and gave us his victory!
I grieved hard this year and I’ve been attacked every which way by the enemy. But in my good times, I have sought the Lord in his word, renewed my mind, and prepared myself for this Christian journey. I know the truth and will not be deceived or broken. The devil thought that his attacks would cause me to turn my back on the Lord, but all it did was push me A LOT closer to him. Ha! Jokes on him.
I thought about Job (the book of Job in the Bible) and how the devil attacked every part of his life, but still he trusted in the Lord and God restored him. So, I asked God what he was teaching me. He said that he was using this evil for my good to teach me: humility, perseverance, worship, and trust. Now in no way am I suggesting that God caused these evils in my life. I am only stating how God can work with you to overcome everything that Satan throws at you so that you can mature as a Christian. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28, NLT).
I can vividly remember years ago having my first open vision where I saw a man walking down a narrow lit up pathway. To the left and right were dark, gray gloomy backgrounds, but in the center was a better path. God gave me the interpretation that I must follow Jesus wherever he leads me and not look to the left or to the right. This vision was preparing me to commit my life (plans, will, desires) to God and to stay in faith no matter what happens. God never promised a lifetime of happiness in this life…What he promised us is hope for the future and that he will never leave us as we take up our crosses and follow his plan for our lives.
I am in this extremely difficult time or season in my life. But in all of this chaos, I have God’s peace and joy that no one else can give me. No, I am not happy all of the time. Yes, I cry almost everyday. But this joy that I have inside of me tells me that everything is going to be okay and that I can choose to make each day joyful by counting my blessings and looking to Jesus. And, this peace that I have gives me assurance that God is taking care of me and that there’s no need to worry about anything. Despite what it all looks like and what everyone is saying, I can confidently declare that “All is well” because all is well. I am breathing, I am a child of God, God is faithful, I have a husband, children, a home, clothing, food, and everything I need or could ever want. I have feelings and the right response to what I feel is to cry and be sad. But when I think about where I could be without God and how Jesus went through much worse, I fall to my knees and pray to God for saving me and being who he is. So yes, I have sadness that comes and goes, but I have peace and joy that never leaves.
Worship takes my focus off of myself and puts my eyes on Jesus. When I do this, I visualize the cross where Jesus died for me and I find the strength to keep pushing and standing in faith for what I believe God for. In these trials, I gain perseverance to sustain my next trial and get through it more easily. In all of this, I gain more trust in the Lord because I see how he has always been there for me and how he will be faithful until the end. Worship causes me to bask in God’s glory and not in my circumstances. It makes me feel like I am floating above life’s problems because I know the one who sits in eternity. I know that better days will come and that Jesus is carrying my burdens and answering my prayers.
Praise confuses the enemy! Just when Satan thinks that all of his plans will consume and destroy you, praise comes in and causes him to runaway frightened because he sees that your worship is for real and that you recognize Christ in you. When you put on the mind of Christ and look to God just as Jesus did, all of your problems become strangely dim. You look to Satan like, that’s all that you have!? Yeah, you may have took my granddaddy, but now he’s alive with Christ Jesus, so he won! Yeah, you may be attacking my mother’s mind and body, but there’s hope because she’s still alive! Yeah, you may be attacking my husband and our finances, but Jesus is with us through this trial and has given us the victory to overcome! So, we WIN, WE WIN, WE WIN!
Friends, whenever you face difficult times, look to the cross. Know that God is in heaven rooting for you to stand firm in the victory that he gave you through Jesus. This is what spiritual warfare is: maintaining the victory that you have in Christ Jesus when all things are fighting against you. For example, you can be believing God for healing, but your doctor says you only have a few months to live and everyone around you is telling you to give up and your health keeps failing. This is when you have to stand on faith and say NO! Don’t give up! Renew your mind. You can have anything according to the Lord’s will! But it won’t come automatic. You have to renew your mind day to day and confess God’s word over your life. Tune out the noise and focus on God. Don’t always ask for the battle to instantly leave. Ask God what lesson can be taught through it so that you may gain perseverance for the next trial.
Remember Daniel’s friends that were thrown in the fiery furnace for not bowing down to the king (Daniel 3)? God didn’t stop the king. Instead, he let his people go through the fire so that he can walk with them in it and give them the victory to stand so that they can be purified and he be glorified. We are overcomers because Christ lives in us! Believe it and stand on it until it manifests. It will come if you hold on and trust God. Let’s pray for the church to be strengthen in these difficult last days as we wait for our Savior Jesus Christ to return.
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4, NIV)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13, NKJV).