Satan has a goal for each of our lives - to steal and kill and destroy. He wiles his way in and does anything he can to take away our joy and keep our focus on the wrong things. Satan doesn't just worm his way in and tell lies to those who are sick and down; he attacks everyone. I am seeing this played out in so many lives:
- Someone battling cancer - having to wake up every day and face the fear and the constant struggle with faith in healing. Wondering each day if it's the day the tumors will return.
- Someone dealing with one small setback after another - in work situations, in kid situations, in health situations.
- Someone dealing with family members making life harder than it should be with unrealistic expectations.
Two weeks ago I decided to have the kids ride the bus home from school. I just couldn't keep calling people at the last minute to pick them up for me. And often my mom had to leave work in West Monroe to drive over and help. It's an unnecessary burden when we had another option. HOWEVER, it broke my heart. I thought, "God, you've taken my freedom, job, social life, driving, ministry, everything over the past year... and now I have to put my kids on the bus? WHY? Why can't you just restore me and quit taking things away?"
There is a scene in Monsters, Inc. where one of the monsters gets "infected" because he touched a child's sock. They isolate this poor monster, tackle him, strip him down and the final straw - they rip off the bandaid causing him to scream in pain! I sometimes think of this scene when I go through a day. "2319! 2319! I have a 2319 in progress!" Usually the socks stuck to my back are small and insignificant but they're troubling none-the-less. It's not a long video and it's a great visual of how I feel some days (and it's cute too):
I found some scriptures that give great comfort in the face of the fact there's a joy-thief looking to bring us down:
1) God loves us and NOTHING can take that away
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord ---Romans 8:38-39
2) We must set our minds against attack
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ ---2 Corinthians 10:4-5
3) We must choose to make each day count
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil ---Ephesians 5:15-16
Last week one of our pastors, Johnny, said that we have to "learn and choose contentment" as Paul did in Philippians 4. We don't just pray for contentment and have a life-long supply poured into us. Same with joy. We have to learn to look for it and choose it. Some days it's harder than others. But I find great comfort in knowing that we're not alone. No matter if it's a giant or a gnat we all have things that steal our joy. Just because I have a chronic health condition doesn't mean I'm the only one who knows tough days. Whether I am sick or well Satan is going to be in my face for the rest of my life. So I better go ahead and learn and choose to fight.
I love the way John 10:10 ends when Jesus says...
I have come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full.
May we choose Jesus' offer of a full life!
I am having glimmers of my old self and it is awesome! I'm still not "normal" (that's such a funny term to me when we talk about people), but I'm definitely making progress. I'm getting out and about more and it feels so great and so very strange all at the same time. I still struggle with the pace of the progress and just as I wrote above, Satan uses some days to whisper that I'll never be well since I'm not seeing as much progress as I wish I could. My headaches are getting better too although I'm still getting migraines for a few days in a row each month. Last Christmas I was not in the "spirit" of it and didn't look forward to much of the festivities. I didn't put up much more than the tree last year. This year I am almost done decorating and have pulled out everything! We got a live tree for the first time this year and I LOVE it - it is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen (not really, but I do love it). I'm not sure that I feel better physically than I did this time last year but I can look back at my spiritual journey and know that I have come so far and that makes me feel a whole lot better!