Hand-to-Hand Combat

"Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
the LORD will be my light." Micah 7:8 (NIV)

My dad made history come alive for his children. The summer before we left for Congo, he and my mom took us to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. I was ten years old, Nicol was eight, and Todd was five. What could have been a very boring day turned out to be incredibly exciting as my master storyteller daddy was able to transform the empty acres of land into battlefields of over a hundred years before. We climbed Little Round Top and actually ran across the same ground that the ill-fated Confederate soldiers charged over with General Pickett leading them.

"Can you imagine, kids," Dad said in a hushed tone, "there's nothing to hide behind here in the middle of this field. We are all out in the open. Facing us is the Confederate army, with their rifles and bayonets. Imagine the two enemy armies getting closer and closer...okay, here they come!"

He made it so real that I actually was a little scared, afraid that any minute we would start hearing the sounds of gunfire. We stopped where we supposed the battle would have been the fiercest. I imagined how horrible that afternoon must have been, when the mayhem of war and the confusion of the battle had made both sides feel as though they were losing, even though the Union soldiers would soon gain the upper hand.

I wonder if you have you ever been in hand-to-hand combat and do not realize it
? Have you been so confused in a battle against the enemy of your soul and his lies that you have been convinced that you are the defeated one? I have. I have grown so bone-tired weary and discouraged that I have bought into the lie that Satan is going to be the victor. The confusion and depression that have been the result of his taunts coupled with circumstances that seem to never change have made me want to high tail it out of the battle. How about you?

One of my closest friends and I have been fervently praying about a situation for months. There have been real breakthroughs...or so we thought. We thought the enemy had been defeated for sure, but for right now it seems he has only retreated long enough to get reinforcements. Now the battle is fiercer than ever. It is very tempting to lose hope, to quit praying, and just give up. The enemy has tried to convince us that our prayers are only reaching as high as the ceiling and falling down around us. Has he whispered any of these lies to you?

"Just give up. There is no love in this marriage. You deserve better. Go file those divorce papers."

"You're so worthless. If people only knew what you have done! God could never use you for any useful purpose again. He will never forgive You--ever!"

"You are a rotten parent. Your child's rebellion is all your fault. You're a loser."

"Just dull the pain. This life has no hope. Go ahead, take those pills, binge on that food, or get high."

"No wonder you aren't married. No man would want you."

"You're not a real woman. You can't get pregnant. Your husband is going to leave you because you can't give him a child."

"You are never going to be able to get rid of this addictive behavior. You are powerless and you always will be. Don't even try."

"You will always be a day late and a dollar short."

"You will always be lonely."

"You better always be looking over your shoulder. Something terrible might be just around the corner and no one has your back."

If you have heard these lies, my darling sister, you are in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy. Do you know that Satan and the demons know that they are defeated? But they hope that you don't know that. Listen to what those dark forces know is the truth:

"Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:34-39 (NLT)

Nothing and no one can ever separate us from our God. Nothing that the enemy throws our way in the heat of the battle to distract us from the truth will change the fact that he is a defeated foe! When you cannot see your way out, cling to God's unchanging hand. Remember what He has done in the past. He is the great I AM. Satan is furious because he knows that his time is short before his power is forever taken away from him. Hold on, sister, hold on!

How do we become convinced that we are the victorious one?

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 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.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

How often are we opening up our Bibles? Are we reading the living, breathing Words of hope or are we looking to others to commiserate with us? Are our feet standing on firm ground? Do we have an attitude of gratitude or of complaining? How often are we asking Jesus for eyes of faith as we engage in this battle or are we blinded by human sight?

We are more than conquerors! Let's show up for the battle knowing that the victory is ours!

Jesus, strengthen this weary soul of mine. Life can get so heavy, so complicated, and so confusing. Please tell me again that You have a plan for me to give me a hope and a future. Revive this battle-weary soul of mine that can get so easily discouraged. You are my Victory.