“I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you.” Isaiah 43:1-2
Spiritual Warfare. I hate it.
Man, the hymns and worship songs are good, aren’t they?
Victory in Jesus, Faith is the Jesus, Fighting our Battles. It’s almost romantic the way they are worded and, of course, every single word is true. We do have victory in Him through faith and He is fighting our battles.
It is definitely true.
But, you know what’s also true? The battles are hard. They are wearisome. They are oppressive. There is nothing easy about sludging through the mud and doggedly trying to get to the other side of the battle to that place of victory.
There is nothing pretty about the raw emotion that comes out, tears running down your face, ugly crying when you’re at the end of yourself and begging God for rescue.
There is nothing romantic about slumping on your knees or lying face down with the weight of what feels like defeat pressing down.
Over the last 5 years or so I have been in a season of spiritual battle, like never before in my life. Every single thing in my life has been attacked. My mental health, my marriage, my family. I have lost friends, lost sleep, lost confidence, lost any sense of where I belong in my church. At times, I lost the very will to live.
I laugh now at how I used to encourage myself through a spiritual battle. I used to take them as a compliment because I thought if the enemy was attacking, then I must be a threat and I must be doing something right for the Lord. Now, though? Now, I am just tired. Now I fantasize about quitting so that they will just end, and I will be left alone.
But I know better than to quit in the middle of an attack. I remember, even on the darkest days, that there is a time coming when I will be on the other side and God will pour into me new life, new inspiration, and new energy to go on, running, walking, crawling the race the best I can, with His strength.
It will come and while I am waiting, He is already here. He is lifting me up, setting my feet on firmer ground when often I stumble and lifting my face toward His so I can remember why I am willing to fight in the first place-why I have to fight.
It’s Him, of course.
My life needs to be a life sacrificed for my Lord. It’s a small repayment for the much greater gift He sacrificed for me. I can’t quit, because He didn’t.
I can’t help but think that choosing to serve Him through the hard times is a greater act of worship than when things are going smoothly. And, man, do I want my worship of Him to be great. I do. He is more than worthy. He deserves the greatest acts of worship that can come from my life, and I do believe that the act of obedience that is squeezed out around the blood, sweat, and tears of spiritual attack and our willingness to put our heads down against the gale and carry on is a sweet, sweet sacrifice to the Lord.
So, I won’t quit, though my flesh screams for it. I won’t stop, though it’s what my heart desires. I will continue on, because my life, this journey, is worth absolutely nothing if it is not 100% lived for Him.
Oh Lord, help me to live for You and You alone. You are faithful. You hold me tight and hold me up and never, ever let go. Thank You Jesus.