We live in a busy world where multiple commitments and responsibilities await our attention. Sometimes we are pulled on all sides, and getting caught up in our busyness is easy. If you are like me, I find stuff to do even when I am not busy. It’s hard for me to be still.
I have found it even harder to be still in a spiritual battle.
Like you, I have fought many spiritual battles. Furthermore, I have learned that there is power in, and victory through, the weapons of spiritual warfare.
In times of intense warfare, it is crucial to
Draw close to God
Determine to Stand on Faith.
This is how we walk in the peace that surpasses understanding amid trying circumstances.
Nevertheless, though we know these to be valid and powerful spiritual weapons, our initial fight or flight response is only sometimes to fight. Then there are the times we choose to hide.
The fear of the unknown causes us to want to hide.
In our busy modern culture, hiding is easy to do. We simply avoid the issue. We can take our pick of reasons to avoid our struggle: time constraints, prior responsibilities, work demands, family commitments, or even ministry. However, none of those are the real reasons we have yet to take the time to get still in the presence of the Lord.
If we can be honest, many of us do not like the still. It makes us uncomfortable. That is not to say we do not like the quiet – but not too quiet. The radio has to be on in the car, or we have to be on the phone. The television needs to be playing in the background. We work ourselves until we are too tired to pray at night, all in sub-conscious attempts to avoid the still. Nevertheless, if we do not learn to abide in peace, we will not be familiar with the still. Then our unfamiliarity changes into discomfort. Our anxiety is soothed in the noise whether or not we realize it.
So, like a small nocturnal animal, we nervously survey the outer rim of our busyness burrow, fearful of the light (the unknown) above that cannot be avoided. Busily, we retreat deep into the hustle and bustle of our careers, hobbies, relationships, and whatever else we can find – if only we can avoid the discomfort. Nevertheless, you know what? It does not work. We can try to hide, but the problem will only stubbornly remain and usually worsens. Because the more we burrow, the more the darkness grows around us.
The inherent danger of burrowing is becoming buried.
Further, if we hide instead of seeking solace in our Savior, we will grow spiritually stagnant. This only lengthens the growing process. Because of this, we can be sure: our trials are the mechanism of the growing process.
Jesus himself reminded us that in this life, we would face tribulations. We live in a fallen world marred by sin, which we face daily – much of it our own. Sin has consequences. Whether the result of personal sin, or a byproduct of another’s sin, we will each arrive at times that try our very being.
However, God, who loves us, uses our darkest hour to elevate us closer to Him.
In these moments of deep crisis, when only God can rescue us, we can choose faith. If we run toward Him, not for a specific outcome, but for His desired will, we will find that we have pressed into a new level of faith and a closer relationship with our Savior. When we love God for who He is and trust Him with our hearts instead of seeking what He can provide, we will find that the fear of pain or loss begins to be replaced with a peace only gained by resting in Christ.
Once we have let go of having to have our will and humbly desire the manifestation of God’s perfect will, we can find new joy in the quiet of His arms. We do not have to hide in the distractions of busyness but can rest in His grace. Like Joseph, Paul, or Silas in their jail cells, we can boldly declare our dependent trust in a God so powerful that only He can rescue us from the most desperate situation. This is when we have the opportunity to proclaim, like Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego in the fire:
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18, NLT)
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When the world’s weight seems to be bearing down and has almost overcome us, He takes us from our lowest points and lifts us to new heights.
This is how – and why – we can rise from our burrow of trepidation and avoidance. Because when the night is so thick that it has become impossible to see, and the fear of deadly missteps threatens to overtake us, our patient and gracious Lord calls out to us lovingly. His light breaks through the darkness and, gently but with formidable power, leads us to the mountaintop we had all but given up on experiencing. It is in these deep, dark, and desperate times when we are willing to face that which we fear, standing on faith, and trusting His will and wisdom regarding our outcome, that God rises to meet our expectant faith in the most unexpected ways.
For prayer on this topic, visit today’s Daily Hope & Prayer.
For further study: Acts 16:25-34, 2 Chronicles 20:16-18, James 1:2, 1 Peter 5:10, John 16:33, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Philippians 4:6-7