I’m just going to go ahead and lay down these words, right here, in the off chance I may need to be reminded some day. Like, tomorrow, perhaps? I hope not. But, if so, it will be here. For you, and for me. Just in case.
Because, the truth is that our faith is sometimes strong, and sometimes not. Sometimes it rises up to meet us at the first light of day, and other times, it feels as thin as a gossamer wing. Like milky water, slipping through our grasp. Some days, faith feels like it might just disappear into the atmosphere if we dare to fill our lungs one more time.
We are children of the Light. We have been redeemed, and we are being restored because of the goodness of a God who loves us. A God who has planned good things for us. A God who has set aside, just for us, a hope and a future. Some days, however, it doesn’t feel that way.
Some days, the darkness and the doubt and the fear get the best of us. We tremble at the possibility of sinking sand beneath our feet, and we shrink back at the prospect that we may have built our faith and cast our lot on a myth or some aberration of the Truth.
The enemy is real, y’all. Not a winner. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But, he sure does put up a good fight. He mixes in just enough truth with the lies he serves up that it makes a girl scratch her head and wonder which way is up, for real. But his native language—the only language he knows—is lies. The truth is not in him. He’s a fake and a fraud.
Spiritual warfare is a real and true thing. I don’t say that to scare you. I say it to remind you, in case you’ve been wondering why you keep waking up in the middle of the night in a panic, or why your head keeps playing the same hopeless tapes over and over again—wearing you down and causing you to forget the name of Jesus. When you’re in the throes of the battle and it feels as if you might be losing, the natural instinct is to turn into yourself and to try to make sense of the senselessness inside your head.
But in those moments, what we need is Jesus. And, sometimes, we need a few friends who will pick up the corners of our mat for us and lower us through the roof and right into the very presence of the King of Kings. Sometimes, the battle is too much for us alone. So, here are three things to remember, when the enemy has singled you out for a bit of hand-to-hand combat and you find your strength waning and your resolve giving way:
- Jesus loves me, this I know. It is the Truth, and it is the first line of a song. Sometimes, all you’ll have energy for is the very first word, and the very first word is enough. Say it, out loud: Jesus. Say it, over and over again: Jesus. That may be all you’ve got today. Just a few breaths that sound like, Jesus. Say it again tomorrow. And the next day. And one day, you’ll be able to sing that first line. And then the next line.
- You are not alone. It may feel as if you’re the only one in the world, and definitely the only person who feels what you’re feeling right now. But that’s not the truth. Jesus knows exactly how you feel. There is nothing we’ve experienced that Jesus didn’t also experience; he promised he would never leave us, or forsake us. And, for good measure, he has given us brothers and sisters on this journey. Reach out to them. Tell them your struggle. Ask for their prayers. Admit your fears and your doubts and your faithlessness. Let them carry you to Jesus until you’ve got the strength to get there on your own.
- Jesus won. This is no brand-new struggle. This is the evidence of a frustrated and petulant enemy who is also a sore loser. His time is limited. His power is waning. His work here is almost done. And he knows it. Jesus defeated our enemy more than 2000 years ago. So, hang onto that gossamer wing of faith with the smallest bit of energy you’ve got to give. Jesus is going to bring you through this, and celebration is just around the bend.
A prayer for the weary warrior: Lord, bless those who are weary in battle. Comfort those who are fearful and riddled with doubt. Speak hope to those who have lost all hope and who wonder where you’ve gone. Remind us to pray for one another, and give us a firm resolve to carry the mats of our sisters and brothers who have no more strength for the journey. Let us be burden lifters and bearers of Truth. Thank you for giving us to one another. Thank you for being closer than we imagine. Forgive us for taking it all for granted, and thank you for loving us anyway. We would ask that you protect us from trials and battles that tear at our solid foundation, but we know your ability to redeem even that and to fortify us as a result of going through the fire. So, while we ask for your protection, we timidly put our trust in you. In the end, let us have loved well. Let us go boldly into the places where you lead us. Let our children see our faith and believe because of your grace. And receive us into your Kingdom, Lord. And the church said, Amen.
Some questions for you: Is this something you can relate to? Who are the people who have carried your mat for a season? Do you have a season of spiritual warfare in your review mirror? How did that season change you? What advice would you give to someone experiencing a season like this?