Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The enemies who stop us

I'm struggling with some things in my life right now. Things I desperately want prayer for, but am afraid to talk about. It sounds silly, but the thing I fear is my enemies. Will they use my struggles against me? Will they criticize me? Condemn me? Judge me? Gossip about me? I think about these enemies and I know that they would do all that and more.

So here I am, suffering in silence.

I think about my enemies, and I wonder why it is that they would be so cruel as to take another's weakness and make a mockery of it. Why they would utter false words designed to harm rather than help.

A couple of other friends I know are going through a season of darkness. Depression. Frustration. Having the bad things in their lives revealed to help them grow. It is so lonely, this time of agonizing over the things we must do to change. Wondering what God could possibly see in us to love.

One of my very brave friends posted her struggles in a safe haven we've created, sharing her heart and her pain. While we don't have the exact same struggle, there are echoes of similarity in what's happening in our lives. Another friend popped up, commenting that she, too, was dealing with the same darkness. And then she made a great point. That Satan uses these times of hurt, when we don't want to let anyone in to see the ugliness we've tried so desperately to hide, to separate us from the ones who love us the most. The friends who can build us up. The ones who will look upon us with the love of Jesus, and with all the compassion in the world, say, "I love you anyway."

I admit, I retreat when I'm hurting. I don't let others in because I don't want to give them the power to hurt me more. But that's what the enemy wants. For me to feel the isolation and have room to come in and plant lies of doubt in my mind. But as this dear woman reminded me, I have to be stronger than that. I have to remember the truth in Jesus Christ that has set me free. I have to cling to the people around me.

The verse for our wedding was Ecclesiastes 4:12 "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." But it also applies here. When we stand together with God, we will prevail. We can't allow our enemies to convince us that cowering in fear and hiding will solve our problems.

My prayer for today: That we would recognize when our enemies are putting fear into our hearts and trying to force our retreat. More importantly, when we see it happening, that we do not cower in fear, but stand firm, and in our weakness to cling to the One who will save us, being mindful of the friends in Christ who will also stand with us.