Be A Good Demonstrator
September 21, 2023
Fear, worry, anxiety, a million what-if's.... They chase each other round and around in my head. My mind feels clouded, a giant is pinning me to the ground, his foot on my chest. I struggle to breathe, gasping for air, and my mind spins. What's going to happen? What will they think?
I must be a terrible mom. How could I have let this happen? I feel the darkness, the oppression, the despair swirling around me. How do I get back up? Will I ever be ok again? My mind races with all the possibilities. How can I keep going? How can I even face tomorrow? What will I say to their questions?! There's so much on my mind. So much to do. People depend on me. My children need me...but I just can't...can't go on. Can't make the next decision. Can't think. I am scared, I am drowning. Would everyone actually be better off without me? What's my purpose? I have nothing left to give and I am so done. I' am sinking... and I can't do this anymore. Whatever happened to the person I used to be? Or was that never even me? Was I just faking it? Was I trying to be someone and something I am not? If that was me, where am I now, and how did I get here…
These thoughts and feelings are an absolute reality in so many of our lives. As Christians, we think we shouldn't feel these ways. I am supposed to be a 'little Christ", after all, isn't that what the word Christian means? Where's Jesus in this struggle? Where's the Jesus who heals? Does He really heal? Or have I just walked too far away for Him to help me; does He care about me anymore? I mean, everyone else abandoned me, so why wouldn't He? He feels so far away. It seems as If He's not there. As if He must not care. I must have done something too bad, and He's given up on me. I feel hopeless, helpless. I know the right answers. Read the Word. I try. Seems to be no help there. My mind can't even grasp what I am reading, much less understand. Plus, how's this helping me? I Pray and I find I am talking to an empty room. My words hit the ceiling and bounced back to me. What do I do? I feel trapped, unsure what to do, where to turn. David can relate. He said, "I cried to the Lord, and He delivered me, and freed me from all my fears." (Psalm 34:4) But I wonder, did you ever notice that it wasn't an immediate deliverance? He walked a long journey of despair, being chased down and hunted. The king wanted him dead. His own people who at one point bragged him up and cheered him on, now despised him and looked down on him. Did he do something wrong? Job lost everything he had. Everything that was precious to him, and that he had worked so hard for. All gone in a day. His body, full of oozing painful sores. His wife gave up on him and his faith. He sat there for a long painful season, and every person that he thought was his friend, turned against him and accused him of sinning. How did he respond? He said, "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." He worshipped God in the middle of the pain! Amazing. Incredible. How could he do it?!
What about Jesus? Wasn't He perfect? Righteous? Holy? Sinless? The Son of God? So why did He suffer? Is it really true, that the Father turned His face away and wouldn't even look at Him, in His darkest moments? Had He sinned? Was He bad? Or in the wrong? Is God cruel? Unfair? Unjust? In our painful, scary, dark moments, all we can see is the darkness and pain around us. We wonder what we did wrong. We want the pain gone. We want healed. Now! If feels as if God must not be good. He must not care. I must be too bad for Him. Is there actually power in the blood of Jesus? Where's the power that raised Jesus from the dead? Why isn't it working for me? I have healed and I have helped others, why can't I heal and help myself?! But what if it's actually ok?! What if, this is a season I am actually called to walk through? What if, in the darkness and through the pain, God is wanting me to learn what faith means? Without faith, it's not possible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) Anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. What if all He really wants is for me to turn my focus off of myself, and onto Him? What if rather than questioning Him, I would declare the truth that He is a good good Father, and that I am going to trust Him?! What if He's asking me to die to all that I have known, so that in His timing, He can raise me up to new life? What if He's bringing a new season?
New wine, which needs new wineskins and the old won't work in this season. What if I need to die again, to all I know and have learned to do?! In these moments, in spite of how it feels, we do have the ability to make a choice. Are we willing to choose to take our eyes off of ourselves and simply reach out to Jesus, saying, "Lord, I trust you. You know what is best. I don't understand, but I know that You do. I can't see what's going on, but I know You can. I don't even know how to walk, but I know that you will lead me" What if this isn't a problem to be solved, but a journey we need to walk? What if this the valley of the shadow of death that we are called to walk through.?! What if the only way to not fear the evil, is to keep our focus on Him, instead of looking at the "shadows of death"?! It's only through dying that we can truly come alive. "Except a kernal of wheat is buried in the ground and dies, it remains a single seed, but if it dies, it produces many seeds." (John 12:24) We want to reproduce God's life here on earth. But we tend to forget that it takes dying in order to do so. What if, as parents, we need to be okay with dying, and showing our children an example of true faith? Walking, simply taking that next step and doing the one next thing we know to do, even if it's only one? Our children most certainly will need to walk through hard times. Lives uncertain. We don't know what might happen next. They will face those moments and days full of debilitating fear and darkness. Are we equipping them, and preparing them? Have we given them the proper tools to get through those days and seasons? Are we willing to choose to show them an example of being faithful, even in the middle of turmoil and fear? Even when walking through valleys full of fear and darkness? Can we say through the pain, that God is good, all the time?! Are we willing to say, thank you Lord, because I know that "All things work together for good to those who love God"?! Can we choose to count ourselves blessed to be in good company and recognize that it's not so much about me and how I feel, but about knowing who God is, even when I don't know who I am?! So much of the time we falter and struggle and fail because in the darkness all we can hear is lies. Why? because we are surrounded by darkness, by an angry enemy who is roaring at us with all his lies. Let's not make any agreement with him.
Let's close our ears to the lies and choose to worship the one who is worthy. Worthy is the Lamb, He who was willing to not only walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but to actually die, to lay down His life, so we can live. So, we can know that we are going to be okay. "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!" (1 Peter 4:12) "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trials you are suffering, as though some strange thing is happening to you but rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you can be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. (When this painful season is past and you can see its purpose.) If you can make a way of life, in every situation, in every dark moment, every time you feel pain or darkness, to say, "God you are good all the time, and I thank you for this season, because I know you are going to use it for good, because all things work together for good. I do love You and I am called according to Your purposes", His glory will be revealed in you and through you, and you will shine like a light in the darkness. Have faith. Trust Jesus. Be blessed.