Saturday, March 14, 2009

Everyone's Calling

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Romans 8:17

I've read those verses before, but I'm just beginning to understand the connections between the two. I used to believe that the only people who truly suffered for Christ were those who were on the mission field, serving him in the rawest, realest form... so ignorant to believe that, I know. Then I finally realized, this entire Earth is a mission field and we don't even have to interact with anyone to be 'in the battle'; the most obvious battleground is the mind.

If you're trying to live for God, Satan's going to do anything he can to stop that from happening; he doesn't want to be lonely in hell, after all. These days, you're the Job and he's still the same Satan that went up to God and asked for permission to test him. Job lost his property, family, health... but not his God. That man refused to turn his back on God even when his own wife falsely claimed that he'd already turned his back on Job.

Was Job a missionary? Not in the way we use that term today, but his obvious love and devotion to God did minister to those around him and his story still ministers to many today, including myself.

I had a Job day today. It was rough, probably my own fault (I inhaled gluten while baking something for a friend, this sounds crazy but when you have Celiac disease it's a big no-no) -- it still frustrated me. The tummy troubles continue and today they were worse than ever, the pain almost sent me to ER, no joke. I hit a low point where the only thing I could do was pray, as I was losing hope in my body (and realized I was a fool for placing that hope in anyone but God in the first place).

Psalm 22: 4
For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.

Times like these, I have to make the extra effort to not let myself get sucked into taking the paradoxical easy way out -- the one that only produces bad results, negative thinking. But as I was balled up on the bed, asking God for guidance and patience, he reminded me that this truly is not a 'struggle against flesh and blood'. It occurred to me that I could confidently cry out to God because I've been trying to put him first in my life, then I realized that's exactly what Satan does not want.

Satan is unhappy, this means I'm doing something right, and he wants to wrong me because of it. Satan enjoys doing this to you and me because he knows how much it hurts God to destroy his creation. The evil one had to ask God for permission to cause the pain and God allowed it to happen. Some might think that God is unfair, but no, he isn't. This is a chance for my relationship with Christ to be strengthened. At my weakest point, if I am still trusting Jesus, he will only bless me for it. This doesn't mean I'll have an instant answered prayer and wake-up cured tomorrow, this does mean I'll have the antidote for my own spiritual illnesses: God's everlasting love and the promise of eternal life that won't include any kind of physical suffering whatsoever.

A man's spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?
Proverbs 18:14

The truth is, as God's children, we are all called to be missionaries; to minister to the world with our own lives, with the choices we make, with the words we say. I often fail miserably; I have the pity-parties. You know, the drawn-out ones that are followed by migraines and puffy, tired eyes? I even have the occasional annoying bad attitude that likes to rear its ugly head when the gut starts acting like a monster. <----These are all things that get me nowhere fast.

Like in Job's case, some might say I have every reason to be angry at God. Doctors have told me everything from "If you ever want to have kids, you'll have to take fertility pills because of your defunct ovaries" (don't like to talk about that much here, just bringing it up to make a point) to "Sorry, there's no cure for your digestive problems, you'll probably be in pain for the rest of your life." But one thing that keeps me going is a wise saying used by a pastor of a church I used to attend: "Don't ask God why, ask him what. 'What am I supposed to learn from this Lord, what is all this for?'" So this is what I did today, and the content in this post what he put on my heart as the answer.

I don't know what you're going through, but we all experience our own version of hell on earth at one point or another. It's obvious we can't trust the state of the economy; we can't know that we'll have a job tomorrow, we can't even be certain that we'll be able to stay healthy so that we can support our families financially. We can only trust that God is faithful and so is his word. Christ said this battle isn't about tangible things but spiritual ones for a reason. The only things we can control are the thoughts that enter our mind and what we do with them; our attitude and heart. The person who gives us the strength to do this right is with us all along, we just have to be willing to cry out to him, even when Satan tries to stifle us.

If you've read this and it's encouraged you, that's the answer to the second part of the above question: 'What is all this for?'. Never underestimate God or his ability to use your negative situation to encourage someone.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:26


tallmisto said...

Some things burden your heart, and this burdened mine. Just the fact that you must endure such pain, I don't like it. And I don't even know you. Must be God!

I think Joyce Meyers said something close to; that when she wakes up each day and her feet hit the floor, Satan is somewhere scared. I do believe that is where we need to be, where Satan is indeed scared of us.

Or more importantly where there is such a relationship with God, and such an anointing upon our lives that this burden I have for you, will bring about prayer - that he must answer.

John 14:12-14
12Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

13And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

So Sophie I will continue to pray for you, and continue my walk as you continue yours. And I pray that there is no longer a need to be burdened, neither one of us. Because God is faithful, and through His word will be glorified. And somewhere Satan is trembling, and afraid because 2 women woke up.

Sophie said...

Thank you for your encouraging words and prayers, Sarah. It means a lot :).

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