There is a pattern I’ve noticed in life – you’ve likely noticed it too. Most folks of faith, professional or otherwise, often do. It’s this: when we’re headed in the right direction, coming closer to God, about to make a breakthrough for God’s kingdom… that’s usually when the spiritual warfare begins. We are attacked in whatever place we are the most vulnerable, and made to believe we are at our weakest. That there is no hope. That we dwell in a place of death, and that death is the final word. We are weak, and we are thus defeated.
But the reality is, when we are weak, then Christ is strong.
The Lord has said to us:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NIV)
During the wilderness time of Lent, we are preparing in our hearts and souls for the explosion of God’s grace and power into our world. Great things are about to happen. We are about to celebrate the biggest breakthrough for God’s kingdom – Christ’s death and resurrection.
Is it any surprise, then, that now is when we find ourselves attacked? Physically, emotionally, mentally – how many times lately have you found yourself lately in dark thoughts or dark places? Dealing with pain of many kinds, that have quietly crept into your day? This is an indicator – God is moving, and if we want to overcome the pain, we must follow only Him. Our perceptions tell us that we cannot go on. God tells us, “Be of good cheer – in this world you will have troubles,” but Christ, and Christ alone, “has overcome the world.”
Take heart, take hope, focus on Christ and the cross and the resurrection, the source of our surety and faith. Call out His name in joy, knowing that it is by His strength we shall live.
As we continue through Lent, and draw near the cross, let us together pray:
Dearest Lord Jesus –
Forty days alone,
a wilderness of thoughts,
tempting and inviting thoughts,
which could so easily have distracted you
from your task, your mission,
Yet you emerged, stronger and more attuned
to all that had to be done,
despite a time constraint
that to our eyes would have seemed hopeless.
We too live in stressful times.
Demands are made of our time,
that leave so little
for the important things of life.
We are easily distracted
in the wilderness of our lives,
by every call to go this way or that,
to turn stone to bread
leap from mountains,
and do all that would keep us from the truth.
We listen to the voices of this world,
and ignore the one who endured all this
and so much more,
and emerged triumphant,
that we might not have to suffer so.
Forgive us, Father,
when we get distracted from our task.
Forgive us those times when we try
to be all things to all men,
and fail to be anything to anyone.
Let us walk in YOUR truth,
let us walk in YOUR light,
let us walk away from all temptations, and
shield us from all attacks,
in YOUR name, and for YOUR sake, and to YOUR glory, Lord God Almighty.
In the dark times, in the dark places, in the midst of attacks that would pull us away from You,
redeem us, recover us, and dwell with us.
Remind us that in our weakness, You are STRONG.
Let your strength be ours.
Let our lives be yours.