(Inhale.) Keep praying and trusting. (Exhale.) The Lord is in control. (Inhale.) Keep praying and trusting. (Exhale.) The Lord is in control. (Inhale.) Keep praying and trusting. (Exhale.) The Lord is in control.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
Just like in the beloved story "The Little Engine That Could", I've continued to repeat these words of affirmation since the conception of DW. You see, lately my obedience to the King has proven to be a challenging walk. Not because I'm ignorant toward understanding His Holiness, but more because I'm overwhelmed with trying circumstances. Through many, many tests and trials, Satan continues to pick away at me with little jabs and pushes - hoping to throw me off course from God and causing me to feel defeated.
Spiritually speaking, the day I chose to step out of my lukewarm life and into a devoted life focusing only on the Savior, was the same day the enemy increased his advances and attacks... and he hasn't let up since. Furthermore, when God put together the pieces to start The Devoted Woman ministry... the enemy got even nastier (if that's possible). He has done so much to stifle our efforts and burden my spirit (and the spirit of my family)... all in an attempt to stop us from speaking up and sharing the beautiful name of Jesus with as many people as possible. Satan really is just a big mean bully, isn't he? The sorest loser of the century is soooo annoying!
Knowing full well how my ego works, even today the devil throws punches at me in areas that don't seem big enough to warrant my having a nervous break down... but also don't seem small enough to just be swept under the rug. His hope is that I won't bring the problem to the Lord because the issue doesn't seem important enough to stress over. He knows I don't like the drama. So, he banks on my selfish need to control things alone... allowing the matter to fester and slowly weigh me down while more and more trials are introduced and begin to compound over time.
Yes, the enemy is a subtle and strategic lion who stalks after each of us - waiting for every opportune moment to chip away at our spirits and cause us to stumble. Whenever I do stumble, he loves to torment me with enough anxiety to ultimately cause me to doubt God... or get angry with God... or turn from God. Not cool.
Have you ever been there? Have you ever found that all the little miscellaneous things crumbling around you begin to take the form of more than just a coincidence? Instead, these "minor" things begin to resemble a very subtle but overwhelming form of spiritual warfare that if left unaddressed, can trigger an anxiety time bomb within your spirit. Lately, for me it has been the accumulation of technology getting buggy... of physical aches and pains increasing in volume... of sudden bouts of financial uncertainty emerging... of vehicles, appliances, and home issues breaking down in record numbers, etc. etc. etc. When it all seems too much, I find myself weeping out desperate pleas to God like, "Lord, I just can't do this," or "Lord, I can't handle this anymore," or "Lord, I'm overwhelmed and don't know how this is going to work out," or "Lord how in the world can I afford this," or "Lord, why are you allowing this to happen?"
(Inhale.) Keep praying and trusting. (Exhale.) The Lord is in control. Can you hear the Holy Spirit whispering through the chaos of the earth quaking? (Inhale.) Keep praying and trusting. (Exhale.) The Lord is in control. Can you see His glory reign over the trials of a world caving in before you?
For those who know exactly what I am talking about, allow me to share with you a verse that has meant the world to me. Look at Isaiah 57...
But the man who makes me his refuge will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain. And it will be said: "Build up, build up, prepare the road! Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people."' For this is what the high and lofty One says - he who lives forever, whose name is holy: "I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite." (Isaiah 57:13b-15)
Did you get that? God promises to build us up and prepare us for His ultimate glory by removing obstacles out of our way. He promises to revive those who seek after Him, even in the worst of trials. This is the God that not only dwells in the highest heavens, but also dwells in the lowest hearts and receives our sincere cries for help as surely as he inhabits and rules all eternity. He knows when we are struggling. He sees and sanctions the difficulties we face. But through them, He promises to renew our spirit. Through the most difficult parts of this war, our King will still receive us and give us His joy and hope and peace to counterbalance all the griefs and fears present. Satan cannot compete against a God that builds, revives and restores along the way. All the enemy can do is scramble to distract us and make attempts to break us. Sure, his attempts can seem earth shattering. That is undeniable. But if we can endure the trial and trust our Shepherd... if we can hold onto Jesus no matter what the problem, no matter what the horror... He will see to it that our obstacles ultimately be removed. He will show us the secure but narrow path that we must travel to grow deeper and deeper in His grace. Then, we will walk closer and more confidently with our good God... with Him, our footing will be strengthened in truth as we travel further into His glory.
Ladies, when the going gets tough, the tough may get going, but the humble cry out to the Lord and continue to follow His path. The obedient seek after His promises and rest in His peace to see them through all circumstance. The faithful understand the importance of hope and rest on His promises so that they may ward off an enemy whose only goal is to distract and discourage us away from our Savior. But turning away from Jesus will never bring peace. His presence is healthy. His heart is true. His love is a love that endures. We too must endure in His love and seek Him for strength. No one is more powerful than our God who promises to remove our obstacles as well as build up our faith.
Trust Him. Meditate on His promises. Believe He will get you through the worst... He will see you through the hardest... He will bring you through His gates and show you His glory. Be thankful for He is God. His love endures. His strength is yours. Receive Him and find peace through the storm.
Be still and know that He is, and always will be, YOUR God! (Inhale.) Keep praying and trusting. (Exhale.) The Lord is in control. (All "hale" the power of Jesus Name!)
Peace, be still.
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