Thursday, July 20, 2006

Sometimes it's so obvious

Isaiah 41:10
[The Lord says] "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

I'm going to be completely honest with you, and myself. I have been under some extreme spiritual attack as of late. I can't explain it, really. I just know that what I'm coming out of wasn't your typical daily stress.

First, there was the stress of the play. I was ready for that attack. Satan always tries to get me down when I'm doing what God wants me to do. I was prepared. I know I - WE - the theatre company and I, AND God, prevailed.

For some reason, my husband has been beyond stressed out. I bear the brunt of that. If I sought joy in the one relationship on this earth that means the most to me - guaranteed - hubby came home grumpy, stomped around and left for his second job - grumpy. For the 6 hours each night that he was gone, I was left to worry about how I might "connect" with him when he got home. Walking on egg shells has never been my forte. I'm not your typical wife. I LOVE my husband. When he's not happy, I'm not happy. I was feeling like Satan was putting a wedge between us and wriggling it- using it to pry us apart to destroy our marriage. Derek and I have come waaaaaaaay too far since our wedding day to ever turn back into the backbiting resentful couple we once were. But there we were fighting day and night - not even fighting, really - just completely unable to see eye to eye.

Zoe, my beloved, beautiful, however taxing, two-year-old, came down with the most disgusting, painful, viral infection that I have ever experienced. She had ulcers down her throat, all over her tongue, around her mouth, and her gum tissue had swelled over her teeth. She smelled like infection, burned with fever and was as miserable as possible. If ever there were a time that I was at my wits end as a mother, it was certainly this week.

I continued to receive my daily scripture. Nothing. No bells and whistles. No sense of "Direct Message from God". I would open this blog with the intention of typing something -- anything, but I couldn't type word one. I finally typed "under spiritual attack" in a search engine. Some helpful scriptures and prayers popped up.

I identified all that I was dealing with and continued to pray. I couldn't shake this ho-hum attitude - this sense of being overwhelmed but not able to do anything. I wanted God to move. I wanted a friend to call or email with some helpful word. Then last night, still craving some wisdom, I went to and there on the main page was the scripture for the day: Isaiah 41:10 [The Lord says] "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Through it all - knowing the attack I was under; knowing the stress of the play; knowing I couldn't make my husband happy; knowing all I could do was make my baby comfortable; I knew God was still here, right by my side. I had to remind myself to wait on Him. It wasn't easy, but I knew only God could make things right. Finding this scripture gave me a moment of Peace, a feeling of truly being lifted up. It is what I needed to hear.

Then as if God the Greatest Teacher needed to finish the lesson before the next Pop Quiz, my inbox received this scripture for today:

They that wait upon the Lord ... shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
My Utmost for His Highest states:
"There is no thrill in walking; it is the test of all the stable qualities. To "walk and not faint" is the highest reach possible for strength. The word "walk" is used in the Bible to express the character - "John looking on Jesus as He walked, said, Behold the Lamb of God!" There is never any thing abstract in the Bible, it is always vivid and real. God does not say - Be spiritual, but - "Walk before Me."When we are in an unhealthy state physically or emotionally, we always want thrills. In the physical domain this will lead to counterfeiting the Holy Ghost; in the emotional life it leads to inordinate affection and the destruction of morality; and in the spiritual domain if we insist on getting thrills, on mounting up with wings, it will end in the destruction of spirituality.

The reality of God's presence is not dependent on any place, but only dependent upon the determination to set the Lord always before us. Our problems come when we refuse to bank on the reality of His presence. The experience the Psalmist speaks of - "Therefore will we not fear, though . . ." will be ours when once we are based on Reality, not the consciousness of God's presence but the reality of it - Why, He has been here all the time!

At critical moments it is necessary to ask guidance, but it ought to be unnecessary to be saying always - "O Lord, direct me here, and there." Of course He will! If our common-sense decisions are not His order, He will press through them and check; then we must be quiet and wait for the direction of His presence."

I knew God was here, He never leaves me. But being conscious of His presence is not enough. I must learn to "bank on the reality of His presence".

He is Present in my life. He is Present in your life. He needs to be Present - Front and Center of our lives. If we discount that fact - if we place Him to the side of us and not before us, we find ourselves treading water but never moving forward. And when the storms come, we forget to call on Him, even though we know He's the only one who CAN. We know He's there. But just like the task of asking, it's not enough to expect God to read our minds. He wants us to know that we can put anything before Him.

Feeling better now. Show's over. Derek and I are back to our silly selves, and Zoe is almost completely over her virus - just a few more days to go. God "upheld me in His righteous right hand" just as He said He would.

Bank on the Reality of His Presence today.