The Bible tells us that we are involved in a spiritual war. Ephesians 6:12 describes this war as a struggle “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.” (NIV).
Often the devil distracts me so much that I don’t even notice the war around me, but that has not been the case in the last month. Lately, I have filled my thoughts with the Bible commands to “stand firm” and to be “strong and courageous.”
In my struggle for our church and community, my husband and I have spent quite a few hours preparing for and praying over CIY’s (Christ In Youth) MOVE conference, and VBS (Vacation Bible School), and other summer activates at our church. In addition, I have been dreaming about things the church could do for children (locally and globally).
In my struggle for my health, I have been extra diligent in praying for complete earthly healing (I don’t want to wait until heaven for healing, because I want to be here for my family). I have also stepped up the intensity of my workout. For the first time in my life, I can honestly say that I jogged two miles without stopping. We also saw a new neurologist whose advice was to take vitamin B6 to minimize the negative effects of the generic form of Keppra. I have not been taking it long enough to know, but it seems to help.
In case that hasn’t been enough of a struggle to “stand firm,” last week I took the first round of chemo. During chemo, I wanted to “stand firm” on God’s promises. God promises joy in spite of your circumstances. God promises that He will work all things together for good. God promises that He will not leave us alone.
God did all that and more. During chemo, I experienced minimal negative side effects. He also reminded me that Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.” (NASB).
God does not want me to work tirelessly for him. He has already done the work. When we learn to rest in Jesus, we become strong. I am not stronger, because I say that I am “standing firm.” God has already won the war, and therefore I can be “strong and courageous.” God has already won for you too, therefore you also can “stand firm.” Our efforts doesn’t change the fact that God has won.