Things have been hard lately. Really hard. It’s often felt like the ground is crumbling below me and I can’t quite catch my breath. I’ve been incredibly blessed to have an amazing group of people around me, holding me up when I’m too weak to do it myself. I wish I could brag on each individual person who has texted, emailed, spent time on the phone and in person with me. I’m just blown away by the depth of community right now.
As I’ve wrestled night and day with unanswered questions, disappointment, anger, sadness, hope, and the mundane, I’ve really been trying to discern what in my life is Truth and what is not. Which of the feelings and voices are of Him and which are of him. The other night I felt convicted to lay down some things before the feet of Jesus. They are desires, hopes, plans, and a rescue. I felt like I needed to confess these things as idols and truly give them up.
As I raised my arms and opened my hands as wide as they could go, I told Papa that He could have them. Even if it meant I stayed in this place forever. I just wanted Him to know that my heart was giving it all to Him.
The next morning however, I felt vulnerable and something felt off. Throughout the day I kept bumping into situations that went right back to the heart of the things I had surrendered the previous night.
And to be honest, I failed miserably at surrendering them again.
I kept trying to close my hands tighter and tighter as I vacillated between overwhelming despair and the courage to fight through. As I climbed into my car to drive to a meeting, unwelcome tears came into my eyes. I wiped them away angrily and told Papa that it’s too much. I don’t understand. When does it end?
Which has led me to this. There is one who wants nothing more than to steal Life from me. There is one who wants nothing more than for me to fail. There is one who wants nothing more than to watch me become engulfed in hopelessness. There is one who wants nothing more than for me to renounce Papa. There is one whose main purpose in my is to steal, kill, and destroy.
Just like I’m so quick to forget the goodness of Papa, I’m just as quick to forget the darkness of another. Because the father of lies knows all the right words to say. He knows how to sing into my wounding and make me believe the things he wants me to. The last thing he wants is for me to fall more in love with Papa and make my life a living sacrifice. He despises me. He hates me. I am repulsive to him. I am his enemy.
If you hated someone and knew that there were plans in motion for their life to bring hope to others, wouldn’t you preemptively strike? Though I’ve never been in a physical war, from what I understand the person with the advantage is usually the one who strikes first.
It made sense to me when I thought about it like that. There is a preemptive attack coming to try to keep me from succeeding. He’s doing everything he can to destroy me so badly that I don’t want to continue down the narrow road.
And it makes sense. Things are being killed, stolen, and destroyed in my life. Precious and beautiful things that naturally make me question the heart of Papa. But you know what I think?
I think Papa is pissed.
I know Papa has been there with me in those moments where my lip is split open, I’ve got black eyes, broken ribs, and not enough strength to stand up. He’s been there holding me and weeping over my wounds. And I have to believe His heart for me is good. While His goodness doesn’t always mean thwarting those brutal beatings, it does mean His lion’s heart is roaring for me. He is the bigger lion.
As I’ve sat on the ground with His loving arms wrapped around me, I’ve felt His armor start to encompass me. The belt of truth. The breastplate of righteousness. The gospel of peace. The shield of faith to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. The helmet of salvation. The sword of the Spirit.
His strength starts to pour into my broken body and fill me. I start to feel like I can get back up. I can stand up taller. I can put one tentative foot out in front of the other. I take a few more steps and know that I’m in this. That no matter how many times I get beat up, I’m going to get back up.
Yes, one has come to steal, kill, and destroy. But the other One? He has come to give Life, more and better life than we ever dreamed of.
Here’s to living that Life.