The day was drawing to a close and, as the setting sun shone off its last remnants of light, my heart began to sink into a darkness of its own making. The evil one was lurking as he knew that the hours to come would provide ample opportunity for feeding and grazing. I was alone with my fears, doubts, and temptations. I was alone.
I don't handle loneliness well. I tend to drift about without purpose or intent. I tend to sulk and feel sorry for myself. I tend to wallow. A weekend of wallowing was about to begin. It was Friday night and I was being left to my own devices for the next 48 hours. I could feel Satan drawing in, closer and closer. I could feel his darkness; cold and heartless. It was coming…and I began to welcome it; after all, I was alone.
As I continued to sink in the despair of loneliness, as dark clouds of gloom filled my head, I had a fleeting memory of a promise. It was a remnant; a distant memory. It was a promise of blessing and glory. It was a promise of protection and grace. Through the cob webs of fear that were encircling my heart, I prayed. I called out with my last ounce of resistance and asked God to scatter my enemies like smoke in the wind. I prayed for help and comfort, but most of all, I prayed for protection. "God, keep this darkness at bay. Keep me from harm. Remember me and your promises. Be with me - I do not want to be alone. I am afraid."
The worst part of any slide into Satan's realm is the relinquishing of all the joy that could have taken place instead. Promises of a glorious weekend had lay ahead. Warm sun. Opportunities to write. Peace. Quiet. Communion. And then there was the worship service on Sunday. It would be a wonderful opportunity to reveal God's glory to His people… if the darkness did not get in the way. When I should have been in prayer asking to be a blessing as the worship leader that God had called me to be, instead, I was quickly and purposely sliding into the pit of self destruction. Instead of a joyful heart, it looked like, come Sunday morning, worship would be led by a dark and remorseful heart. "God, help me!"
"Do something, God! Scatter your hateful enemies. Make them turn and run. 2Scatter them like smoke! When you come near, make them melt like wax in a fire." (PS 68: 1-2 CEV)
And help me He did. The angel arrived within minutes of this prayer. She came out of nowhere, an acquaintance barely known; a fellow writer with a ministry of her own. She came without knowing, she came without pretense. She came because she has learned to respond when God inspires. She trusts Him fully and when He calls she answers. She came with a smile, a joke, and a song. She came on the Internet. Yes, you may laugh, but God often speaks to me on the Internet. It is one of His favorite tools. Her email message came through loud and clear: "How are you?" She asked. "Seriously, I want to know. Can I pray for you?"
And pray, she did; without ceasing.
"When your land was thirsty, you sent showers to refresh it." (Ps 68:9 CEV)
And she came with a conviction: "Do you trust Him? Do you really? Really, really trust Him?"
"Well, of course I trust Him, don't I? I rely on Him in every aspect of my life, I think. Do I really trust Him?" Her words kept echoing in my brain. I could not think of a single reason not to trust Him and if I did trust Him then why was I allowing myself this slide into darkness? Why was I choosing to wallow?
So I stopped. I chose a different path. It was time to go back to what has always opened the door to His love in my heart. I opened the Bible and began to work on writing the devotionals for this week. After all, isn't the Bible where we are supposed to go when we are in trouble?
And this is what it said…
"Be humble under God's powerful hand so He will lift you up when the right time comes. 7Give all your worries to Him, because He cares about you. 8Control yourselves and be careful! The devil, your enemy, goes around like a roaring lion looking for someone to eat. 9Refuse to give in to him, by standing strong in your faith." (1 Peter 5:6-9 NCV)
The sun began to shine, even in the middle of the night, as the memory of God's love poured like rain into my heart. Enveloped by His protecting shield and encouraged by His angel of mercy, the weekend was suddenly filled with His glory and my heart burst with joy and happiness from the sweetness of His love. The evil one was swept away as the dark clouds of selfishness were replaced with conversations of fellowship and songs of happiness.
And Jesus prayed: "And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one." (John 17:11 NRSV)
Praise God for He is good!
Giver and Provider of Life: Our hearts fill with wonder and awe each and every time we pause to remember. Yes, we trust you but we also tend to forget. We sink into the pit of selfishness all too often. Our lives without you would be filled with misery. But it doesn't have to be that way. Your love is immeasurable. Your desire to protect us and to lead us into the warm glow of your glory is beyond imagination. If only we could learn to trust you fully; if only we could learn to live our lives immersed in your tender care; if only we would turn our focus towards you instead of inwardly into the pits of self-destruction. Lord, bless us so we can be the blessing you have created us to be. Expand our horizons so that we can grow to know you more fully. Fill us with your Spirit so we can be ready to follow you wherever you may lead. And, Lord, protect us from the harm that constantly threatens our hearts. All of this we pray through Jesus our Lord and Savior whom you "called… to share in (the) glory (of) Christ, a glory that will continue forever" and ever. Amen.
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If I were a betting person, I'd be willing to bet that your "angel" reads this and cries with both tears of humility and joy. I doubt very seriously that she even knew the why or how. But it's probably best that we don't know those things... so that we remain humble. I love you, Brother. Your pen speaks to me more than you could possibly know. May you be blessed beyond measure.