“After all the lights go down, I’m just the words, You are the sound, a strange type of chemistry but You’ve become a part of me. And as I sit alone at night, Your thoughts burn through me like a fire. You’re the only One who knows who I really am.” —Thousand Foot Krutch
After a week of not blogging, a week spent with the Brocks, a week of serious growth, I have learned and re-learned and re-re-learned truths that are so vital to my existence, that it’s a wonder I forgot them or ignored them in the first place.
1. No matter what I feel, no matter how big or bad my emotions may be, that will never change who God is and it will never morph the truth of His word or make it void.
2. Satan is a liar and a deceiver and he is out to destroy me (dramatic, I know, but so unbelievably and uncomfortably true)
3. There are periods of great peace and periods of great chaos in life, but God is always present in both.
Over the week I spent a lot of time talking with Beth, Leah, and Aunt Lori. These three women were a great encouragement to me and helped put things in perspective. During the week I was being bombarded with doubt, lie after lie after lie, and I didn’t even fight. I’m sure some of you reading are still apprehensive about the fact that I’m having so many doubts so often and so easily, but Satan is ruthless, I’m human, and just like any other relationship, work is required, especially if you want to keep it growing and thriving, and this work includes fighting doubts concerning the One you love, which inhabit the mind of every man and woman as often as they pretend they don’t.
At one point I was tired of giving in, and I had gone about three days without reading my Bible or meditating on God’s word or even spending any real time with Him, only because I was so confused and overwhelmed in my own head and heart that I wasn’t quite sure what I was supposed to say. Mid-week, I finally sat down with a notebook and made a T-chart. On the left side I wrote the lies Satan was trying to feed me about myself, about my future, and about God, and on the right I would write everything the Bible had to say about it. Beth asked if she could join me, and I gladly welcomed her help.
We spent the next two hours or so debunking lie after lie. Allow me to share.
1. Lie: The future is frightening and uncertain, and God is not going to do good in my life.
Truth: God loves me and would never do anything in my life that wasn’t purposed to grow me closer to Him and to further His kingdom.
Proof: “Which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:9-11, ESV)
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20)
“You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forever more.” (Psalm 16:11)
God makes it clear that though life will not be easy (John 16:33), He always gives good things to those who love Him.
2. Lie: God is a jokester and He’s using me like a gamepiece.
Truth: God is love and He treasures me. Everything He does is purposeful. He keeps nothing from me and tells me exactly what His plans are as well as how He feels about everything. He is not deceitful.
Proof: “Christ loved the church (yeah, that would be me) and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present her to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27)
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)
“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
As much as I’m tempted to give into the idea that the only god that really exists is one who’s distant and who plays around in the affairs of humans for his personal entertainment, God’s word says something much different, and the content of my life thus far proves to me otherwise. God purposes everything and doesn’t do anything without a reason behind it. Satan is the one who deceives, the one who tricks, the one who plays, not God.
3. Lie: I’m a victim of bad circumstances.
Truth: As a child of God, I am never the victim.
Proof: “His commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:3-5)
“We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19)
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6,7)
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
This world is tough. Satan is messed up. My sin nature naturally errs on the side of rebellion, doubt, and confusion. But even though all of these things are true, because I’m a child of God, because I’m His daughter and He’s taught me how to fight and He’s willing to fight for me, I am never EVER a victim of anything. God has told me I’ve overcome the world. John says that “everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.” He doesn’t say “they have a chance to overcome the world,” or “they might overcome the world.” He says definitely whoever is of God overcomes the world. Period. God has gone through too much trouble and He loves me too deeply and protects me too fiercely to set me up to fail. No…God has set me up to win.
4. Lie: Being in love with God and seeing Him as enough is keeping me from romantic love and keeping me from really feeling anything. The only way I can really feel is by following my heart.
Truth: My heart is deceitful and my emotions are ridiculous. God is enough for me now and forever, before and after everything, including marriage, and His presence and influence and transforming love allows me to feel freely and deeply and wonderfully.
Proof: “Love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:7, 8)
“But as His anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in Him.” (1 John 2:27)
“The heart is deceitful above all things and is desperately sick; who can understand it? ‘I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.'” (Jeremiah 17:9, 10)
“And He humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:3)
God’s word is enough. His love is enough. If the truth is to set me free (John 8:32) and Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), then in order to be free from the power of my emotions, from the power of my flesh, from the overwhelming nature of the world and circumstances and change, I need Jesus. It’s only through Him and through my accepting of His love and meditating on His word and seeking greater knowledge of Him that I can even begin to try and love other people. How could my heart ever lead me in the right direction if it’s desperately sick?
5. Lie: The broken hearts around me will always be broken, and I will always feel the weight of the brokenness. The happiness and salvation of the people around me depends on my actions and my character.
Truth: God is a professional in binding up broken hearts. He has divine skill in the area of mending relationships, strengthening the weak, filling up empty cups, and being a refuge for those in the eye of a storm. God is the only One who saves.
Proof: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)
“I, I am the Lord, and besides Me there is no Savior.” (Isaiah 43:11)
“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” (Psalm 118:8,9)
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
God’s will is for broken hearts to be healed, for people to be reconciled to Him, for people to constantly grow in His love and in knowledge of Him. But He is the only One powerful enough to change people’s hearts the way they need to be changed. He’s the only One capable of transforming someone so dramatically that they accept Him and pursue Him.
As I write this, I’m still struggling with doubt and unbelief. But I know that no matter what I feel, no matter what fears plague my mind or what denial runs me ragged, God’s word is still true, His love still stands, and He is still who He says He is, and there’s nothing that can change that. God exists outside of my emotions and can’t be changed by how I feel. I don’t know why this is happening or when it’s going to end. I’m not sure when things will be ‘normal’ again, but I know it won’t last forever. I know God keeps His promises, and I know He loves me and protects me, even when I’m going through battle. I know He’s faithful and I know He’s honest. I know He’s strong and powerful. Call me ignorant or close-minded or whatever you wish, but I flat out refuse to give up and to give in and to not wait for Him to intervene and call out to me through the fog, through the confusion, through the doubt. No, I can’t ‘feel’ Him. I don’t feel like He’s listening or like He’s with me….but that doesn’t change the fact that He is. It may seem silly to wait for a God that I can’t see, to follow a God that I can’t feel, and to love a God I can’t touch, but He’s worth it. He’s worth waiting for and running after and pursuing, because He so passionately pursues me even after showing me how much He loves me by taking the initiative in this relationship and sending His son, after washing me clean and atoning for my sins just so He could be with me. Who does that? Who forgives everything someone has done and starts over, promising never to leave them or stop loving them until the sun falls into the sea and the clouds consume the water and the stars put holes in the core of the earth? God does. I love because He first loved me. I know He’s faithful because I have some infinitesimal grasp of what I mean to Him…I’ll never see myself the way He sees me, and I know that I mean more to Him than I’ll ever be able to comprehend. So, because I know He loves me, and because I know He’s true and faithful, I will sit and endure the doubt, wait out the circumstance, deny the lies, and fight the enemy.
This all sounds rather heroic and dramatic and intense, but when Paul describes the spiritual armor in Ephesians 6, he’s not listing the belt, the shoes, the breastplate, the helmet, the sword, and the shield because he liked the outfit of the Roman guards. No, God via Paul described this armor as well as the weapons of warfare in 2 Corinthians because we are in a war. Why would you describe armor and weaponry for use to a civilian? You wouldn’t. God gives us these weapons and this armor to use as soldiers, because, you guessed it, we’re in a war. Yep, I sound crazy. But I refuse to be caught unaware of attack, unaware of the reality of God and of Satan. Satan is very real. He’s the enemy, the only enemy in this, and he will always be the enemy. But, thankfully and to my great relief, God is very real, and is infinitely more powerful than Satan, and,
God is always the winner 🙂
“Though the fruit tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength.” —Habakkuk 3:17-19