Today was my boyfriend's birthday. He is a big fan of Lord of the Rings (or LOTR for those computer programmers out there), and so I got him the extended version of the three movies. The gift was a hit, and after a dinner of pork, potatoes, and cinnamon strudel (streusel?) muffins, it was time to open the master pack.
Each movie has a set of 4 DVDs in a pristine folder with tremendous art work and menu maps. Each one is also individually shrink wrapped. As my boyfriend hunted for a small weakness in the plastic, or a tiny hole to exploit, it became obvious that the plastic had a great deal of integrity and would not give way.
I was struck in that moment by how Satan probes for such weaknesses and holes in our spiritual lives with a finger hungry to find a weak area to bore in and cause our shields to give way. All it takes is the smallest breach, and the whole protective package will fall apart.
My protective package fell apart in recent days when I allowed my feelings to dictate my actions with God. Pulling away from him in fellowship, reading, praying, meditating, for just a few days left me bare and open for more attacks from the enemy. I had no spiritual armor on, and the flaming arrows came flying in... arrows of "how could God care about you?" "he's going to let your pain go on forever" "no one will ever help you" "no one will ever understand." Missile after missile of despair, faithlessness, anger, and pride. The ultimate message from me to God being, "I know better than you. Stop putting me through this. Stop bothering me."
I couldn't have been more broken last night, having withstood such an onslaught from the enemy. My heart was broken, and I poured it out to God with brutal honesty, tears, and a plea for forgiveness. The relief that followed was fresh water soothing my burning soul. I was so hungry for truth, so thirsty for the very voice of God that I had been trying to tune out. And, oh the sound when he spoke! Sweet, familiar, powerful, and with Laser-like accuracy, targeting my biggest insecurities and my worst fears.
I've been trying to decide how to tell the story of the way my circumstances became what they are now, and to be honest, this is the exact uneasy feeling I get when I want to confide in a friend but am not sure how they will respond or what questions they will ask. My current state is the result of such a long story, full of facts that build on other facts, full of tragedy and being forsaken, full of pain, and that pain being invalidated time and again, that I've grown to adore the privacy of pretending to be normal. However, the more time I spend talking with someone, it becomes impossible to conceal that my life is in pieces, my family is in pieces, and we have enemies who have surrounded us in this state, hungry for blood. I think this story will come in installments, the way it's grown up brick by brick, like a living wall around me. So for now, to put God's voice into perspective, know that my family is in danger, and I feel inadequate to protect us. I feel at times as if God has left me alone here in the battle with no support.
My Lord's timely answer was through this story of the prophet Elisha and his servant...
2 Kings 6:15-17
When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked.
"Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."
And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
For the full story, read here: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20kings%206:8-22;&version=31;
Oh, that the LORD would open my eyes so I could see! When my Michael W. Smith CD was playing today, his song "Open the Eyes of my Heart" made me think of this passage again. I actually looked out the window half expecting to see some flaming chariots. God gave me such great strength through this verse. I see things happening all around me every day that don't make sense. Evil wins. Justice seems like a fairy tale. The strong punish and control the weak. Thieves steal and destroy. Lies spread like gangrene ruining reputations and lives. People with the ability and responsibility to step in and help, turn away. And the more I see the weak hurt, and feel my inherent powerlessness, the less faith I have in ever seeing things resolved. The fact is, I forgot that it's not myself or my abilities in which I need to have faith. I can't wait on my own inner strength with hope and expectancy. I must wait on the Lord. And his resources and soldiers and chariots are more than the enemy. He is more than enough.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.