A certain trial in my life has kept me away some time from this blog. As I pondered what I am going through, it has taken me through some hills and valleys in my Christian walk. When we are first hit by a life crisis our first response is to go in to “me” mode. We observe the situation, then take off full steam ahead fixing, troubleshooting , applying a panacea and proceeding to rectify the situation in our own strength without first consulting God; stepping back and allowing God to take over the problem. Sure, we know God is there but we really don’t completely trust Him with the situation. Or, we don’t have the patience to wait on God. I was running around in circles, wearing myself out as I often do when I am faced with a trial, until God let me come to the end of myself so He can take over. I must admit I have yet to learn this lesson. Somehow in my mind, I haven’t come to the full conclusion that God is control over every aspect of my life. Thus, I end up giving place to needless worry, fear and doubt. I have often heard God tell me, “be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).” It settles me momentarily, but when I am shot with another arrow by satan my flesh arises again and wants to be in control. Be still, He keeps telling me. After I felt like I was at the end of my rope I said, ‘God I cannot do this in my own strength, I need you to take over this problem.’ I finally gave God full control, so I thought.
When you give God control the devil is going to persecute you even more. How do you handle the harassment and torment he inflicts upon you? You go to your prayer closet and God will give you peace, but the devil will have attacks lined up and working through other areas of your life. He will then start using family members, job/co-workers, and relationships to attack you from different angles. You begin to feel like you are being swallowed up on every side. If you are a seasoned Christian you fast and pray, as the Bible commands, “without ceasing.”. But what do you do when it feels like your fasting is meritless and God is nowhere to be found? The problem then begins to eat away at your mind, and emotions; it begins to rob you of your peace, your joy, and happiness. You ration with God, ‘Lord, I know in this life we will suffer for the cross as was taught to us, but please Lord give me the strength to go through this, the strength to carry on.’ Yet, God is silent. Your pleas become desperate, ‘My Lord, where are you? Can’t you see what is happening to me; can’t you see what I am going through?’ Yet I know this is testing my faith walk. It is testing my loyalty to God. This trial is to test the word I profess to believe in. I already know that I am weak in my flesh, I petition to God, ‘so why are you putting me through this?’ But I remembered God said that He is not going to give us more than we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). You may be struggling with everything within you to find a reason to wake up each morning. In this particular situation, I found myself becoming angry with God—again. This is something I had struggled with in my baby years as a Christian, not knowing God intimately. After maturing in Christ I thought I had completely given myself over to God, I thought I would completely trust Him no matter what I went through. Perhaps this is why God allowed this particular situation in my life—to show me what’s in my own heart. I was quite surprised. There was still unforgiveness there, anger there, mistrust, and a few epithets too. It’s just that satan attacks us where we are most vulnerable. He attacks us in ways that are least expecting to us, he’s cunning and operates very underhandedly. He knows our weaknesses. He attacks us in places that are closest to our heart, therefore, throwing us out of commission. In our most trying situations we really feel like sheep up for the slaughter. The situation then seems to be impossible; we can’t see a way out with our limited vision. We try to trust God and stand on the word, we get a moment of peace, but satan shoots another dart and there we are again, back-and – forth in our faith. One minute we may be trusting God singing hymns lifting up His name, the next we are dodging arrows sent by the evil one. These arrows seem to pierce straight through God’s word into the confines of our heart. Thus, our peace is compromised once again. What will it require to stay in peace I ask myself? Faith? The Bible says we must walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). It is so easily uttered from pulpits, friends, and family. But how do you really apply it through the situation you’re going through? Is it just a matter of making up your mind to stand on the word? I have heard many times from preachers to meditate on the word. Well, how do you do that? We have to get a scripture that pertains to what we are going through and recite it every time we are attacked. I have applied it before but have not been consistent. But in order to guard my mind, I realize I must not let my mind sit idle, becoming an open field for satan’s attacks against my emotions. I must replace those thoughts with the word of God.
Therefore, no matter what the enemy does, no matter what ploy he uses, you must stand on that word, stand in God, refuse to be moved by what you see with your physical eyes, what you hear. It takes discipline and practice. We so easily want to wallow in self-pity, and the “why me” syndrome. I really believe God is teaching us to fight, to stand up against the enemy until this becomes commonplace in our life; so we will learn how to apply His word to become victorious over every attack we will face. We have to sit down with ourselves and really get this into our mind. Ok, we know in this life we are going to face many trials, but do we just let the enemy rob us of our peace, joy, and happiness; focusing on the problem, turning it over and over in our mind until it depletes us, numbs us, and renders us defeated? That is what satan wants, to isolate us, back us up in a corner so he can go in for the kill mentally. I do believe every battle is fought first in the mind. How can we get our mind so focused on Jesus—His word ingrained in our soul, spirit, being? This is a question I constantly ask myself. How do I not falter when a trial comes? How do I not doubt Him? How do I finitely make up in my mind to trust Him? “We walk by faith, not by sight,” Is what I keep going back to. I have to thoroughly believe God’s promises and His word. He said He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deu 31:18). Saints we must believe that deep down in the pits of our soul. I have come to realize the problem arises in our Christian walk by our unbelief. We say we believe God, recite the scriptures, sing the songs, but our true belief really manifests when we are put into a severe trial; do we really trust God or do we give up on God? Do we turn our back on God because of persecution? I believe this is where a lot of Christians walk away from God because they can’t fathom why a merciful God would allow them to go through such atrocities and they are serving Him faithfully. I personally am guilty of doubting God. But my constant prayer is, ‘Lord help me to understand your ways, I may cannot see the end of this situation, Lord, please help me to trust you with my life.’ That is my recurrent prayer when I find myself not trusting God in a trial, that He will have mercy on me despite my sin of unbelief. That He will keep me in his covenant, and not let His spirit depart from me as He did Saul in the Old Testament. He says in His word, His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). Many things are taking place in the spirit realm that we have no cognition of, things that God is dping in the unseen. I pray God, “create in me a clean heart, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (psalm 51:10).” We don’t want to allow trials to cause us to live a bitter and hateful life, leaving us to feel like a victim. We don’t want to be taken out of His grace because of hidden anger towards Him over the way He chooses to sovereign our lives, often allowing severe tragedies, unanswered prayers, and suffering. We have to learn how to get this word so deep in our belly that when satan attacks we focus on the promise, not the problem. The promise He gave to us, “For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
I have come to believe unless we trust God 100%, believe in Him 100% we will be defeated in any trial we will face. A house divided cannot stand (Mark 3:25). Satan’s attacks are designed to divide and separate us from God. His aims are to create an inner conflict between God and ourselves. We oft time forget who the real enemy is. Somehow we have to take the focus off ourselves and realize the battle is truly not against us but against God. Satan is doing everything he can to try to destroy God and His Kingdom. We are His Kingdom. We are the chosen ones. We are those who walk in purity and truth, those that will not sacrifice, those that will not compromise, those who will not submit to the demons, and false idols of this world. We have to realize we are not of this world, God choose us and set us aside for His will. I often feel like I’m on the outside looking in, this world seems so foreign to me, I feel like I don’t fit in. I and a few others who are on this path are the anomaly. If we can just remember that this is not our lives, but God’s. What we go through on this earth, though trials seem long, this life is but for a moment. If we can just hold on—one day at a time, never giving up on God, ever seeking His face no matter the trial, difficulty we find ourselves. When we go through distress, if we could just focus on the promise not the problems, I believe God will renew our strength in every trial we face. Beloved, it’s going to require faith, patience, and trust. Hold on. Don’t give up on God. Trust Him. Believe Him. No matter what you are going through He is the master controller of all things (Colossians 1:16.17).
By Puah Neiel