The month of August was full of opportunities for me to seek the Lord and find the difference between Wisdom and Understanding. August was a month-long battle for me, both personally, physically, and spiritually. Not that it was all bad... and as we all know - our God works EVERYTHING together for good to and for those who love Him and are called according to His design and purpose! So - even the 'bad' parts, or the difficulties, or sickness, or whatever it is that you are facing that seems 'bad' - even those parts He is able to redeem and use to reveal a greater purpose and a stronger faith in you!
I will not go into everything that came at me in the past month - but let me just say that if I was able to separate them and look at them one by one - most of them would be no big deal! However, as many know and have had to deal with themselves in this past season, when the enemy of your souls is seemingly on a relentless onslaught - it can seem and even look in the natural to be overwhelming and impossible to overcome. And yet, we know that His Word is true and that we are MORE than conquerors!!? Even when we don't FEEL like it!?
The biggest and most intense attack came at me seemingly out of nowhere - after the previous attacks had slowed and I felt as if I was back on track... and it literally derailed me for a few days. Not only was I in a great deal of physical pain, I was struggling - (or is that 'wrestling'?) with God as to why it was even allowed in the first place!? Now - I know that what I went through pales in comparison to what many have to walk through... but for me - I could see it as a definite attack, that came as a direct result of stepping up my prayers and intercession for a friend... I was believing bigger and with more boldness and Authority - which I felt the Lord had asked of and required of me... and then all of the sudden - bam!? I was physically hit and even though I knew the purpose of the attack was to get me to back off of my prayers, I regretfully repent and admit to you - that it did just that for a time. I was a bit unsure... I allowed the whisperings of the enemy to enter into my mindset and taunt me... if I kept up the prayers for a miracle, the devil would simply take me out... not only would the prayers not be answered, but I would die in the process... so - really, was the attempt in faith even worth it?! Of course, the answer is yes - and the truth is the enemy is not allowed to take me out... but it took me a couple of days of self wallowing and whining a bit with God to get to this reality!
You see, I spent several days standing on the very words and Scriptures that I was praying for my friend... and I was getting frustrated that it didn't seem to be working immediately. Of course, the irony in this is that my friend has battled his own attack for several years now... my, how we can get so ME focused!? Donald Miller talks about our desire for formulas in "Searching for God knows what" and he said that sometimes, he wonders if what we really secretly wish for is that 'God were a genie who could deliver a few wishes here and there. And that makes me wonder if what we really want from the formula's are the wishes, not God. It makes me wonder if what we really want is control, not a relationship.' (Ouch!?) I say that because I am all about the intimacy and relationship with our God... I preach it and I live it for the most part... but bring on an intense attack, and I will do what I know to do... but if it doesn't seem to work like magic - well, then... hurry it up already God - ... sometimes we just get so ME focused, we forget that He has a bigger and better plan, and yes - sometimes those plans require us to go through the fire... He never promised us a life without trouble... but He did promise that He would see us through every time!!! In fact, there are rich lessons that await us when we go through suffering with Christ... we are called to it from time to time - not to suffer, but to overcome - and to be filled afresh with new compassion! So, after a couple of days of my whining with Him and stomping my feet while standing on the Word... I realized as much as the healing I was believing for... what I was after just as much was an explanation! I wanted understanding as to WHY He would allow the enemy to attack me in that way while I was simply stepping up and doing what He had called me to do... I wanted to know WHY He would lead me to step out and stand strong, and then stand by and watch me get knocked down... I pray, I plead the Blood - I felt I should have been covered! I know, I know... more than likely - we have all been here at least a time or two in our walk with God... whether we would admit it or not, I don't know?!
Anyway, once I realized I was wanting God to answer to me, rather than submitting myself to His hand and submitting to Him... I repented, and I felt Him lead me to Psalm 111:10... which in the Amplified Bible says this: "The reverent fear and worship of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom and skill [the preceding and the first essential, the prerequisite and the alphabet]; a good understanding, wisdom, and meaning have all those who do [the will of the Lord]. Their praise of Him endures forever." That was key for me... what I needed was Wisdom, not so much Understanding or explanations! We know that our God answers to no one... and yet so often, in the midst of confusion or turmoil - we act as though we expect him to give us all the answers and reveal His intentions! Sometimes, He will... and sometimes, well - He just won't! What I needed was to return to worship, and recite His goodness, His faithfulness, His majesty... to remember my testimony and all the times He has never let me down... I needed to make sure that my lips were not releasing whining and complaining but praise and honor... it is no magic 'formula' of course, but for me - in that battle, as soon as I did that, the Lord began a quick healing in my body, and my spirit! What I was facing looked in the natural as if it would take weeks if not months or more to overcome, and I am thrilled and humbled to say that within one week, the Lord healed me and lifted me up! It's all about Him... I am not in any way saying that the sickenss came from God... I am a firm believer that the Word is true and it is the enemy who comes to steal, kill, and destroy... not the Lord. However, all things pass through His hand and often when we are having to deal with something that seems impossible, there is a lesson awaiting us that will not only see us through to the other side victorious, but will work in us a more Christlikeness - if we allow it!
I know He taught me many things in those 7 days, and many of the lessons I know I still have not gained wisdom on... but there was a greater purpose involved! I am pleased to say that I am back to praying for my friend... the enemy intended to scare me away from praying in faith and applying the Blood... it will not work... he has no power and I believe with all my heart that God's will for my friend is Good... better than even MY will for him! I put my hope, my trust and my faith in Christ alone! He is well able!
It was wonderful to be back to my regular routine and be able to meet with the ladies at my weekly prayer meeting. During prayer and worship, the Lord gave me a picture that so cemented in me what I had just walked through myself, that I wanted to share it here...
He gave me a picture of how God the Father was restraining Jesus as they looked on to see the Bride getting abused by the enemy. I saw the anguish and heartbreak in Jesus' eyes as He watched her (us, His Bride) being hurt, wounded, and attacked. The Father holds Him back NOT as punishment, but to show our strength & to watch us Rise up in Beauty as we stand up and say "No More!" ("Why?! Why does she just sit there?! Why does she take it?!" Jesus cries out - knowing that she has the weapons to stop her attacker instantly! She only needs to remember and use the Power and Authority given to her!) There is nothing more attractive or desirable than to see the one you love stand up in fierceness and boldness and draw a line in the sand... to take a stand for something, or someone... to see a Warrior Bride take her ground is so pleasing to the Lord... And in the waiting, not only do we become stronger, but the Love that Christ has for us grows stronger as well!!! The Lover of our Soul will give us plenty of opportunities to rise up and stand for Him... we simply must see them and take them!!!
As the vision faded, the Lord said that so often, the Bride doesn't understand, and that alone can paralyse her and keep her in the enemies grip. The fleshly desire and 'need' to understand a thing from every angle can cause us to stop fighting against it and get caught up in it... It can cause us to lose ground... so, rather than a drive to understand, we need to learn to decide to choose to TRUST!!! The Bible says that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His ways higher than our ways! This is true... there are times when He will reveal them to us, so it doesn't hurt to ask... but there are times when the reasoning behind it is not for us to know and that is when we must learn to quickly submit and choose to Trust!
As Mark 11 says, have faith in God... "whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it]." (Mark 11:24 Ampl) This is not a time to shy away from the Word of God or to give in to the doubts and attacks of the enemy! We are standing in the opening of a new season, where I believe God is wanting to answer radical faith-filled, put it all out there on the line, kind of prayers! Let's step up, draw a line in the sand and stand with Him for miracles! The Bible says that we will be doing greater works than Jesus... I don't know about you - but I want to see that happen... and I am believing that it is beginning to happen even now!
It's good to be back! Continue to stand Bold, Firm, and Strong in the Faith... knowing that your God loves you and has the very best in store for you!
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