“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” And He said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.” Luke 22:31-34
I can only imagine the feeling around the table on the night Jesus was betrayed and taken away from His friends. The tension in the city full of Passover celebrants, the stress around the table as Jesus, knowing what is ahead of Him, breaks bread and passes wine and declares that it is His body and blood they are partaking in.
We forget sometimes that there is a real enemy who hates for us to keep faithful to our ideals for our families and for the Lord. Satan, Peter tells us, is our adversary. He prowls through the earth--like he did when he asked God if he could seek to destroy Job, and recorded again when Jesus says to Peter, "Satan desires to sift you like wheat." Grateful that He also records that He Himself prays for us in times like these.
We are, after all, caught up in a battle that rages in this world--a battle for the hearts and souls of men, called to give allegiance to the one true God, to believe in His goodness, to give the gift of our faith in the darkness--to choose to believe and praise and worship and live for His reality yet to be revealed.
We are getting slowly used to stepping beyond our difficulties and seeing who is really at war with us. We have to sometimes go through dark corridors of dealing with stress, issues, and then by obedience moving on to the pathways of faith, not by feelings, but by depending on His truth. We can praise Him for His power and the ability to use all things in our lives to make us more into the image of Christ. We ask for His strength and for His grace and power. We walk by faith into our next day, confident that He will always be our defender and our Father and care for all the details of our lives.
I have learned to ask myself questions in the midst of my own dark times, and often asked these questions of other women, too:
Who would like for you to remain bitter? Discouraged?
Who would like for you to give up on your ideals--to say, "I can't do this anymore." ?
Who wants you to be angry at your spouse? To be resentful of your children? Your family? Your in-laws?
Who wants you to worry and fret and stew and hold on to pet fears?
Who is trying to separate you from your friends?
Who is tempting you to think that God does not hear prayer, that He doesn't really care about you? To doubt God's goodness?
I think that it is at this very moment--when the darkness comes in--that faith is of most value and pleases God the most and absolutely frustrates Satan. Satan doesn't think we will believe and be strong. God is already waiting to lead and provide and help. But we have this honorable moment, when we can say, "I love you. I believe you. I will choose to trust you."
David reminds us in the Psalm 139:7,
"Where can I go from thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from thy presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in Sheol, (hell) behold you are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn and dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there your hand will lead me and your right hand will take hold of me.
If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night," Even the darkness is not dark to you and the night is as bright as teh day. Darkness and light are alike to you."
And so, we who are the children of the light, can be comforted by Him, who sees all, is over all, is with us through it all, knowing He will use it for our good and for His glory. May He give you encouragement today!
Today, you can also find me in another friend's space. An interview about my rhythms as a mom, things I would have changed, stories about my life are all on gracelaced.com. Ruth even put one of my favorite verses on a lovely poster, with my favorite flower--a purple bearded iris. Her art is lovely and something very special. Enjoy!
By wisdom a house is built,
And by understanding it is established;
And by knowledge the rooms are filled
With all precious and pleasant riches. Proverbs 24:4
The above was a favorite verse of mine through out the years my sweet ones were at home to remind me to cultivate the reality of Christ in all places of my home, the music, the love given, the meals cooked, the art on the walls, the devotions shared--all rooms filled with the riches of His wisdom truth and love.
My sweet friend Ruth at gracelaced is doing a special series this month called, Pictures of Grace. Ruth creates such wonderful beauty with scripture and watercolors, and I'm so glad to be part of this series and her blog this week! She's created a lovely print of some of my favorite verses. in Proverbs 24. This week she's hosted several lovely ladies, and right now she has a special going on, too! Take a look at her blog and read her interview with me here ... Gracelaced