Weary of the Battle?
I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle—victorious.
— Vince Lombardi
My friends, today I want to speak to those of you who are in the thick of battle and are tired. I've received several emails to this effect and I'm carrying each of you close to my heart right now, like a friend cheering you on from the sidelines.
You're tired—tired of the battle, the fight—tired of praying and seeing nothing change. Are you in this place, my precious friend?
What if I told you the battle is always fiercest right before the end? What if I told you your victory is just around that last corner that you can't quite see yet?
Would you keep fighting? Would you keep praying? Would you stand firm?
This weekend I took a walk with my husband and at one point, I broke into a light jog to cross a wide street. I don't normally jog but I've always wanted to, imagining how free I'd feel. Past attempts have left me too winded or with a hurt foot or knee, but I've been walking much more than I have in the past and as I reached the other side of the street, I didn't want to stop. I wanted to keep going because I caught a glimpse of what I'd imagined. My husband, who was born athletic, joined me and encouraged me to keep going. He pointed out a stop sign at the end of the street and told me to make that my goal.
So I did. I kept my eye on that red sign. My knees started to protest so I adjusted my stance. My hips began to “whine” ever so slightly and reminded me that the word on that sign was stop. I kept pushing through the burn because I wanted the victory. I knew if I stopped before that marker I would wonder if I could have made it had I pushed just a little farther, hung on just a little longer.
I prayed for strength. Just a few more steps and I was there! Victory was mine! I don't know if this means I’m now a jogger but in this one moment, I was. Even though my body felt tired, I felt strengthened in my heart and spirit.
We've talked about many of the enemy's tactics, but there's one that hardest to see at times. He's a master plotter and knows when all else fails, he still has one area that he can attack.
That, my friends, is at the end of the battle when the fight is fiercest and our prayers take more strength than we think we have. Evil makes its assault when we are on the verge of a breakthrough or on the precipice of taking new territory.
The enemy turns up the heat just enough to make us think we are losing when we are about to have our victory. When you reach that point when you think you can't win, that's the enemy whispering defeat into your heart. When you think your spouse, your loved one, your life, even your very self is a lost cause, that is the enemy's panicked attempt to make you back off because he's about to lose.
Sometimes I imagine Jesus and the heavenly realms cheering us to that finish line only to watch us stop a mere few feet away, because we think we've lost. We buy into what we see and not what we know to be true.
Our victories come in moments that reveal a change not only in the person or situation we are praying over but also in ourselves. We too are changed as we step into new freedom and territory, stronger that just a few steps before and closer to God. Each and every step is a victory!
But it's not easy. The question is, will we struggle, fight, stand and persevere through those last few steps when the enemy is bent on convincing us to give up?
Victory never looks like what we expect and seems to always exceed our expectations when it does come. Sometimes it arrives through times of staying put right where we are or in the moments when God says let go so He can take complete control. What we may perceive to be failure may simply be the final set-up for a breakthrough.
My friends, please understand I am not tell you what to do. I'm telling you to do what God has told you to do. What did He speak to your heart when the battle began? What are the promises He gave you along the way? What is He telling you right now?
As I wrote this post, God put it upon my heart to share a battle I’m in right now. It may seem trivial, but even the smallest battles have a purpose, a desired result to add to the big picture of God’s Kingdom.
For the last year or so our financial picture has become more and more difficult. In January when I prayed for my husband, God gave me the word, “Prosperity.” I confess I struggled with it, wondering how God could prosper us when my husband is still walking his own path. Before I could even speak this doubt to God, He spoke so clearly, “I bless him through you.”
This week we will have to sell my car—my 2010 Honda CRV. I waited at least fifteen years to own one of these. I love my car, but it’s just a car. The enemy, however, wants to make me resentful, which I could easily indulge in because I’m bearing the brunt of the situation at the moment, and he’s trying to make me doubt what I heard from God. But I wrote it in my journal. I reread it anytime the enemy tries his tactics, because I KNOW what my God said and I BELIEVE HIM!
I know it seems strange that selling my car would be part of God’s plan of prosperity for us, but I trust God and I know Him well enough by now to understand two things: One, I know whatever happens with this will be part of what brings my husband to faith. Every part of our lives can be opportunities to have Kingdom impact on a life and my guy’s soul is more important than a car.
And two, my limited thinking of what all this means only succeeds in putting God in a box. Just because selling my car seems counter to what God has spoken doesn’t mean it is. Remember, His ways are not ours. He sees the big picture, I don’t. Therefore I trust God for the outcome, because I know it will be better than what I would have if I held onto that car.
Whatever God calls us to do, we are guaranteed the victory. Wherever God leads us, we will succeed, overcome, or accomplish whatever that is. Our victory is guaranteed because we are in Christ and we belong to God. That is what we can hold onto and will never have to let go of or give up. The enemy can’t take it away from us either.
Trust God. Believe Him. This is our greatest form of worship.
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. — 1 John 5:4
Praying for earthshaking, life-changing faith for each of you!