Living as a Christian is a dramatically altered course, and I set my sails at age 27. Over the years I have experienced the excesses of charismatic churches, the soul-lifting prayers of various saints, the mind-numbing droning of pulpit inhabitants that perhaps should find another calling, the glorious transport to heaven on the wings of praise music. In short, I’ve experienced countless sin-bashing sermons, participated in every Christian meditation practice I can think of, pursued Biblical wisdom until my mind bled.
So when fear, worry or dread, creep in on tip-toe and take my mind hostage, I should know that it’s an illusion. A snare. A poison dart to the brain, and I should fight back with truth-darts of my own.
Instead, sometimes I cannot bash it in the face quick enough, and end up in a quandary of difficult emotions. Despair. Discouragement. Untidy thinking. Hopelessness.
And that’s what happened last night. The dratted creepers blindsided me at 2 a.m. So, in addition to emotional backlash, I am experiencing exhaustion. Which, of course, this morning I dumped all over my husband, a handy but unfortunate dumping ground. He immediately planned a mini-vaca for us.
A short-term solution, but it still doesn’t solve my dilemma. Why don’t I INSTANTLY remember with every fear, worry or dread there is a flip side. A silver lining. Why, after reading the Bible continually for thirty years, do I not sweep away these thoughts that occur in the middle of the night as plans and plots of the devourer? (You sweet people out there that are avowedly anti-Christian can stop reading now. I understand. No offense taken.)
1 Pet.5: 8-9
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
I know this. I’ve read this verse for years. I’ve internalized it. But my reaction is supposed to be like this:
In James 4:7, James tells Christians to “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
I guess in the middle of the night my resistance is at its all-time low. At least it was last night.
Awake and steely-eyed at noon, my mind is clearer. I can almost see beyond the smokescreen of discouragement to the God-ordained outcome. Almost.
God is tricky. He often requires that I pull out the “faith” card: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Thirty years’ worth of Bible-focus instead of world-focus has taught me that a silver lining gleams brightest just after a dark night. Last night was pretty dark. After a bit of a wrestling match with the adversary, I’m now sure the silver lining will be blinding when it comes.
And it will.