[Job 1:6-12 ESV] 6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, "From where have you come?" Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it." 8 And the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?" 9 Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face." 12 And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
The last seven months have been very difficult. My personal life and Solid Rock have taken some hard hits. Our staff of 24 has experienced a child who was blind in one eye and needed surgery, 3 spouses with cancer, 2 serious car accidents, 2 husbands unemployed, a teacher with a blood clot in her brain, a teacher with emergency surgery, and the year ended with my dad, whom I loved and respected my whole life, passing away two days after Thanksgiving. As I reflect back on all that transpired, I have wondered if God and Satan had a very similar conversation about me as they did about Job. God has graciously placed a hedge of protection around me for a good part of my life, and in 2016, He shifted the hedge.
So what do you do when God shifts your hedge of protection? How do you fight the war that is raging around you and deep inside you where you have thoughts and feelings you can’t even speak? There is only one answer to that question and it is cling to God!
During this time of my life, I have learned that Spiritual Armor is important (Ephesians 6:10-19). Verse 12 for me has been instrumental, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” My battles are not against my spouse, my co-workers or my church. My battles are against Satan and his army of dark forces. Just recognizing that one fact has kept me from fighting with people and instead running to Jesus with my anger, frustration, and fear. And then, of course, I suit up…put the armor on and keep it on all day—for me, especially the helmet. My mind can run wild if I allow it and the helmet of salvation protects my thoughts. Priscilla Shirer said it so well when speaking about the helmet of salvation; “Receiving salvation is not the same as applying salvation. The first redeems us, the second restores, protects, and shields us daily from the attacks of the enemy.” My mind needs that protection.
Besides the armor of God, the Lord revealed this verse to me when my dad died—John 12:27-28a NLT: 27"Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, 'Father, save me from this hour'? But this is the very reason I came! 28 Father, bring glory to your name." Jesus was about to go to Calvary and He prayed, “Father bring glory to your name.” He didn’t pray to be saved from a torturous death which I would have been tempted to do. So, I am following Jesus’ lead. I want those struggles to somehow “bring glory to God’s name.” I want my dad’s death to “bring glory to God’s name.” I want my ministry at Solid Rock to “bring glory to God’s name.” For what other reason am I on this earth but to allow my life to point others to God.
Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV says; “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." I recently memorized this verse. It helps me to remember that even in my loneliest hour, or when life is so very hard or when I feel so far away from God, He is not far from me. It is God who goes before me. It is God who is with me. I have no need to fear; I can fully and completely trust God!