I always know God is getting ready to do something new, because it’s always in the moment just before the Lord’s plan steps into the light that the adversary turns his thumbscrews on me. It never fails.
The past couple weeks have been no exception. I can’t really get into what God has in store for our family, because frankly, I don’t know what the practical “rubber meets the road” picture looks like yet, but my husband and I are poised to use what vision we have to impact the places we’re currently planted.
So of course, the Lord’s dark enemy went to work. Financial strain wrapped its icy fingers around my throat. Looming decisions about how we would conduct business both at home and professionally squared off and dared me to choose which I would count my great ally. I agonized. I lost sleep. My colitis flared (as it always does, just to ice this cupcake I find on my plate every now and again.)
And to cap it off, I endured a direct attack on my faith during my bible reading time Wednesday morning. It was the most palpable sense of accusation and questioning I’ve ever experienced, so forgive me if I sound like a wacko for even bringing it up.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a firm believer in a very concrete spiritual battle (how’s that for a contradiction in terms?) we fight every day of our lives. For every move the Lord would make with me, his servant, I have seen the enemy wage preemptive attacks or stage ambushes. He knows if he can stir up my slumbering sense of hopelessness that still lurks in the darkest recesses of my heart, he’s got a foothold. Instead of raising my battle song to the heavens, I falter and apologize for the frog in my throat. I know this, and yet, I fall for it again and again.
That comes back to the ancient truth Paul shares with us in the book of Romans: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15) I know I shouldn’t listen to the enemy’s lies, but somehow, he knows just what words to whisper to shake me up, to make me doubt. And when does he whisper the most? When he has the most to lose if I forge ahead with what God has placed in my hands to do in his name. I hate that I listen, and yet my power to stop my spiritual ears is small indeed.
But when I stand outside my own frailty, I can find hope, a hope that is both counter-cultural and counter-intuitive. I can rejoice in the times when the accuser starts working hard to distract me, because I know it’s because he’s threatened by something he sees the Lord positioning me to accomplish. From potential comes persecution. And who doesn’t want to have potential?
I suppose, rather than an attitude of “Why me?” when troubles swarm in, the part of me determined to be the Lord’s instrument needs to face that adversity with a single-minded focus to play the notes on the page before me. With the Lord’s help, surely I can be part of an amazing new symphony, and opus loud and triumphant enough to drown out any whispering discord coming from that hater of divine music.