Not Today, Satan!

And I wrestled with God and I wrestled with Satan for nearly two days in that self-constructed cave of mine.

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Satan just about did me in this time. I was teetering on the edge of an abyss about to fall in, to give up, to walk away from this calling on my life. It doesn’t matter why. I won’t talk about that. Satan doesn’t get a headline in my story. He doesn’t get his deeds magnified. His tricks don’t get an honorable mention. And here’s why:

Because he didn’t win.

But he almost did. Or at least that’s what I wondered. You know how it goes. You get punched in the face by one of his blows, and you are down for the count. And it all goes dark. The despair and shock and grief overwhelm you, and you are certain you are beaten.

That was me a couple of days ago: Crawling on the floor in agony; screaming in intense pain; clawing the ground for the least bit of comfort; writhing and dragging myself to another place in the room trying to escape. But, as if on a bed of hot coals, there was no relief. Beseeching God, I cried, “Help me! God, help me!”

My poor husband. He got a front-row seat to all of that, and I’m sure he was a bit traumatized. But he was there. My rock. Cradling me while I cried. Lifting me off the floor when I literally didn’t have the strength to move. Comforting me with his gentle voice. That night when I asked for more lights when we went to bed, he willingly obliged.

My body was still shivering and convulsing from the shock of the afternoon, and I couldn’t sleep. So I fumbled my way to the other room, turned on the lights, and climbed into that bed. And I hid. I cried out to God, “It’s really dark. I’m scared.” And I really didn’t know how all of this was going to end up.

I spent all of the next day in bed, my body in physical pain from the trauma. If I managed to emerge out of the bed, I moaned in pain, and stumbled in a stupor, only to return to the bed moments later. I recalled Elijah when he ran for his life from Jezebel and hid in a cave:

“Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”  He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.

And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too” (1 Kings 19:3-14).

And the demons were trying to kill me, and all that God had set forth in my life in ministering to broken women was hanging in the balance. I wanted to jump ship. And God and I had a conversation:

“I can’t do this anymore.”

“I told you it would cost you. You WILL receive opposition from the enemy.”

“But I want to hide. I want to just be normal. I don’t want to be strong anymore.”

“You told me you wanted this at any cost. You will rise stronger.”

“But how? How can I be strong? I didn’t know this is what you meant. It’s more than I bargained for.”

“But when you get to the other side of this you will be more prepared. When you fight Satan and win, you will be more equipped.”

And I wrestled with God and I wrestled with Satan for nearly two days in that self-constructed cave of mine. I most definitely considered giving up. I considered withdrawing my book from the agent. I considered never speaking, never mentoring, never writing again. I began considering every option that could help me escape from the calling, escape from the pain.

And Satan was blatantly wheeling and dealing and bargaining in my ear, “See? If you surrender, I will stop torturing you and those you love. I can move on to someone else. You can live a simple life free from all of this.”

And the war raged. And it was bloody and brutal. And I wanted to die.

But something kept making me fight. And a friend and mentor of mine who knew nothing of my situation told me she had dreamed that I was fighting spiritual warfare.

And then I knew.

I knew I had to get back up. I knew there were great things on the horizon.

Because you see, there was another time I lay crumpled in a bed wanting to die. Eight years ago, this same scenario was playing out as I was escaping my abusive marriage to a minister. I thought I was beaten and used up and worthless, not quite sure if I was going to make it. But I got back up. And the blessings have far outweighed the pain.

And so today, I stand ready to move forward. I’m still a little wobbly and pretty beat up and badly bruised, and I still wince a bit in pain. But I’m still standing. I got knocked down hard. But I’m up again. There’s something to be said for simply getting back up.

And I’m more certain than ever my breakthrough is coming, and I am more prepared for whatever that looks like.

My word from the Lord in 2020 was “increase.” I was ready for an increase in my ministry and an increase of the presence of God in my life. How silly of me not to realize that increase in my territory would, by default, mean increase in opposition. You never take more ground in a war without a fierce battle. And this one was fierce, my friends. If God sees fit, I would rather steer clear of the battle for a little while. But one thing of which I am certain. I always will get back up.

So, for those of you who think you can’t do it anymore, take a lesson from me and from so many others who somehow have managed to use their pain to make them stronger, and their battles to increase their resolve. There is hope in the power of Jesus. He’s already gone before you. And when the war rages and you want to die, he’s there lifting you up to stand firm. I know it’s dark. I know it’s scary. But reach out. He’s there.

You can do this. We can do this. Together. Praise the Lord. Breakthrough is coming.

Not today, Satan!

INCREASE, LORD!

“I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation” (Psalm 118:13-14).

 

Featured image by Dmitry Schemelev 

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