I’ve mentioned a couple of times this last week on my blog that I’ve been fighting a cold. It has been a heavy-hitting cold with all the effects you hope to avoid: sore throat; cough; head aches fatigue; nasal drainage and I should stop now before you get nauseated (oh and that too). What I want to write about is that it is just like our enemy to jump on us when we are down. During these two weeks I’ve heard the accusing voice of the enemy every day.
Jesus called the devil an accuser of the brothers and sisters in Rev 12:10 and by the way the last half of that verse says he will be cast down one day. I’m for that! Jesus also calls him a liar and the father of lies in John 8:44. Lying is his native language. Our accuser loves to jump on us when we are down physically, emotionally or spiritually. He knows that those three are very closely intertwined. If he can make progress against us in one it often spreads like a virus to the others.
The last two weeks I struggled with my self-worth and with my ability to do my job well (losing your voice is an occupational hazard if you are a minister). You can see the progression. What started physically began to affect me emotionally and then spiritually. I wanted to put a big “L” on my forehead for Loser. I couldn’t pull out of it physically and then I became discouraged. I felt like I was failing and then I wondered, did I do something wrong.
Questions began to fill my mind. Did I get outside of God’s will? Why isn’t God answering my prayers? How much am I making this up? Am I just lazy? Have I lost my passion? Maybe God’s given up on me. The doubts seemed to multiple daily. I found myself in a downward spiral.
I admit that for a couple of days I pouted that I was going through this AGAIN. I had virtually the same cold earlier this year for about a month. In fact, one of the ironies was that the lats time I went to Orlando I had the same version of cold during the Healthy Growing Churches network meeting. I couldn’t talk during some of those important meetings. It really messed with my ability to socialize–and you know that is important to me! Now I was headed back to Orlando, this time for the Exponential Conference and I was fighting the same cold again. That would be embarrassing and frustrating.
Things began to turn when I took the control of how I was thinking. I realized the mental battle that I was in and determined not to listen to the accuser. I prayed through everything that was a concern to me. I surrendered everything I could even imagine might be a problem. I determined that I was going to have a Christ-like attitude no matter how I felt. I chose to remind myself, I will live for the glory of Jesus. No matter what anyone says or doesn’t say I refuse to take on any negative emotion. Sometimes teasing can really mess with you when you are down. I said to myself, I am going to relax into the care of my Father. I will believe He is healing me in His own good time. I shamelessly asked for prayers but not for pity. I didn’t try to attract any attention to my condition but I prayed to live in such a way that the plan of God could flow through me. If He wanted to heal me then great. If He chose to let me live with this then great.
I had to be vigilant with what I allowed myself to think. I found great compassion for those who regularly struggle with sickness or weakness. I need to be more sensitive to those. I quoted scripture and sang prayer songs (in my mind because I had no voice). Sometimes I croaked out prayers, scriptures or songs with little or no voice as a declaration of truth. And little by little healing came. It was very gradual but internally I celebrated every step. Then eventually there was one breakthrough and then another until I could speak, felt stronger and coughed less and less.
I share this because I’m more aware than ever that many struggle with this daily and all of us struggle with it occasionally. The scriptures call these our light and momentary trials. I realize that sometimes we have chronic pain and that all of us will one day die so there won’t always be a I got better ending. The principals I shared here are true and they will serve us well no matter what lies we hear from the accuser. There is a battle to be won and we need to be vigilant and diligent so God can bless us and use us. It is also how we give Him glory.