Thursday, October 21, 2010

There's a battle out there

A lot has happened since we have been home from Ethiopia. The Lord has been at work in our hearts and lives and there is no denying that we are changed forever. I can't wait to share with you some of the things He is doing- it has been amazing.

But if there's one thing we know from experience, it is that when we are doing the work of the Lord, we are going to face opposition. It happens all the time- God calls you, and you begin to obey and He is in the process of doing something big and beautiful in your life and all of a sudden unexplainable things start to happen that can really discourage you and cloud your thinking. And the doubts start coming. And as time passes, you start to wonder if it really was God calling you. Did you really hear right? This seems crazy. Were you taking those scriptures out of context? Maybe that was just your own pride or selfish thoughts. "Why would God even want to use me," you wonder, "I am not qualified for this or that anyway." And then you slowly start to give in to those thoughts and doubts and the next thing you know, you are back to where you started: knowing that Christ wants to show His power and glory through you, but feeling too weak or discouraged to take the first step of faith yet again.

We have heard it said many times that when we rise up to defend and give voice to the most vulnerable: the poor, the orphan, and the widow- that we will be engaged in a battle. And while it may seem at times in our human eyes that the battle is between us and those who seem to discourage, oppose, or mock our efforts- we know that it most definitely is not. "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." (Eph 6:12)

Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 to be strong IN THE LORD and in HIS mighty power. The minute I trust in my own strength, knowledge, resources, or power, that is when the enemy gets a foothold and I am on my way to destruction. I become prideful in my ability to "do something" and then God has a way of humbling us really quickly after that. No, we are to put on the full armor so that we can stand up to the devil's schemes. And we must recognize those schemes when they sneak up on us.
These past few weeks have been hard.
We have felt the attack of the enemy in many areas.
There have been days and nights when I am sick because of the weight I feel and the knowledge that I am powerless to do anything about it. There have been many times I have cried out to the Lord on behalf of the precious children we met and pleaded with Him to open the hearts of others to be moved into action- and moments later felt the sting of rejection and the weariness that comes from feeling like I am on the frontlines of a battle.
I confess my pride and unforgiving heart that has resulted from failing to recognize that a battle is raging and that I cannot solve the problems of the world or anyone else for that matter.

Which brings me back to the truth that I am reminding myself of today (and maybe a truth God has for too), which is that while yes, there is a battle going on and there is a war being waged- it is far from hopeless and instead of getting pushed and shoved around by the enemy- I can DO SOMETHING about it!

"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." (Eph 6:13)

When I put on the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the Spirit which is the word of God- I am gearing up for the battle and am ready to engage- not in my power, but in Christ alone. When I pray in the Spirit in every occasion for everything imaginable, I am trusting in the strength of God and not my own. I must recognize and be prepared for the warfare that WILL come, but I can be sure that I have Someone who is already fighting the battle for me.

"For he has rescued us from darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Col. 1:13-14)

And guess what??? God has already given us a sneak peek at WHO is going to win in the end! Read Revelation :)

"They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of bruning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever." (Rev 20:9-10)

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son." (Rev 21:6-7)

Praise the Lord that He has already won the battle! Let us pray for eachother that we do not become weary in doing good but that we will put on our armor and trust God to take care of the rest!


abigail mortenson said...

praying with you, candice and randy!

emily hope said...

Thanks for sharing from your heart, Candice. It -life- truly is a battleground, isn't it? I've been so encouraged lately reading a little book by Ray Stedman called "Spiritual Warfare" - such good reminders of the seriousness of what we're called to, but such HOPE that we truly are *more* than conquerors through Him! May the Lord continue to strengthen and uphold you guys :)

Sarah said...

thanks for sharing. this was exactly what i needed today...even though we may be facing different challenges, this really hit home. it is so easy for me to forget that we will face difficult challenges that don't seem to make sense when you are doing what you know God has called you to. be encouraged my friend! i will remember you and your family in my prayers...missing the BTE!


Jessica said...

There is definitely a BATTLE once you start following hard after Jesus and we've experienced it on many levels over the past year and especially lately after Nick's return from Ethiopia and as we've started our next adoption.

I'm in a women's bible study and last week the author said, "When the devil isn't messing with you, you know you're not a threat to him." All I know, is that we're going to live our lives out for Jesus and if we have to battle with Satan to do it, so be it. I don't want to live off the radar anymore.

God's already won that battle and as long as we recognize that, there's nothing that can stop His people.

Thinking about you as you struggle with what you've experienced. Our adoption trip this past January brought many of those same feelings that you write of and you can be assured that God is the one stirring your heart to defend the fatherless and that you will grow and learn through this journey. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Take care,

Jessica Irvin

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