Whatever message you have on your heart will be attacked. If you feel called to be a crusader of hope, you will come to doubt hope’s very existence. If your mission is to rehabilitate the homeless, you’ll eventually come to wonder if they even want you around. If your passion is to see marriages transformed, you may hit a season where you’ll see more failures than successes in those you counsel.
It’s bound to happen. Your message will be attacked.
Several weeks ago, our suitcases were lined with photo albums from decades ago, wedding mementos, and the basic necessities for a week away from the home. Only, like many others in our community, we didn’t know what we would be returning back to. A category 4 hurricane was building momentum, with the eye projected to hit home and its force predicted to escalate to a category 5.
And there I was, wrestling with God on matters unrelated to the storm.
Confession time number one: I’ve had trust issues with God at times. My faith in God has been intact through the storms of the last several years. But there has still been hefty dents in my soul that I’m sure many of you have faced as well. The wrestles look something like this:
Has God moved on from me?
Has He stopped hearing my cries?
Am I just a lost cause?
Sometimes I grow too tired to fight the voices away.
Confession time number two: This very blog was in its pre-infancy prior to my neuro manifestations for the sole purpose of spreading hope. Not the cotton candy, wishful thinking kind of “hope,” but the real deal that’s grounded in reality yet knows there is a reason why we can hope.
It’s the hope that propelled William Wilberforce out of bed when he had his own illness, yet he tirelessly moved to dissolve the slave trade.
It’s the hope that awakened within Corrie Ten Boom to spread the message of Christ through the creation of a rehab facility to house those who were survivors of concentration camps when it would have been easier to close herself off from the world after her own imprisonment and the death of her dearly beloved sister at the hands of one of the most tyrannical ruling systems to date.
Confession time number three: It was this very message placed on my heart that was attacked.
But then I realized that for myself I had come to a place in my life of arid ground, silence from God, and a message starved of meaning. I know I’m not the only one who has been on these arid testing grounds, which is why I’m sharing these words with you, dearheart.
But then, I heard God speak several weeks ago, not in a great booming Charleton Heston voice kind of speaking, but in the reassuring voice of the Shepherd who watches over His flock.
Several sentences from the Most High were enough to allow the dam to break within and let out a cry.
One of the things I know He was telling me wasn’t simply for me, and it was this: One day, it will all make sense. I am not allowing these trials because I hate you. On the contrary, you are very much loved.
God doesn’t hate you, my friends, and He hasn’t moved on to someone better. I’m not sure we will understand the illness, poverty, and loved ones abandoning us in the most capricious ways on this fallen ground, but it will make sense- one day.
I want to remind everyone reading these words that the enemy would love nothing more than to ATTACK your message that Christ has specifically given to you, please don’t buy into the words, my friends. If you hear nothing today but this, know that whatever God has specifically laid on your heart WILL be attacked, but if it truly is a message from God that meshes with His Word, then know that it’s being attacked for the sole reason to destroy it into an ash heap. Don’t allow it to wither. Fight back; I will try to fight alongside you all in prayer.
And as for the storm, it abated in our area. Weather forecasters mentioned prior to its landfall that, “We have never, ever seen anything like this in Central Florida. Matthew is the greatest weather threat we’ve ever faced.” Yet, we were spared. The suitcases are now unpacked, the weight of the potentially disastrous effects of one storm is gone and the decision to cling to a withered yet true message remains. Will we fight? Will you fight for your own message that may be withered as well?