"But He Turned, And Said Unto Peter, Get Thee Behind Me, Satan: Thou Art An Offence Unto Me: For Thou Savourest Not The Things That Be Of God, But Those That Be Of Men."
Matthew 16:23 (KJV)
"For The Enemy Has Pursued My Soul; He Has Crushed My Life To The Ground; He Has Made Me Sit In Darkness Like Those Long Dead. Therefore My Spirit Faints Within Me; My Heart Within Me Is Appalled."
Psalm 143:3-4 (ESV)
Without question, I find it horrifying that as I draw closer to God, Satan seeks me more promptly than he ever has before.
I truly believe he finds great joy in watching (more so than non-believers) Christians fall and due to the fact that we carry the impression of Christ in us, he must take true delight in our shortcomings, as well as when we haul the cross of Christ behind us, through the muck and mire that we call living.
He has the talent to weave his way to the darkest, most private corners of our soul.
The areas we wouldn't dare allow another human being into; where your oppressive terror, concealed humiliation, and deepest confusion, lie in waiting to suck the very breath out of you.
In these areas, he attaches himself and is RELENTLESS as he pours out doubts, lies, and worry, holding fast as he waits for us to give up; our defeat being his ultimate prize, never sleeping, never loosening the grasp, always waiting, always weaving, always attempting to devastate....
He knows all to well how to tip the scales; he knows my weaknesses, he knows my deepest fears, he knows how exhausted I feel trying to balance Church, work, Seminary, single parenting, a (what seems like) never-going-to-be-final divorce....
He whispers to my soul at night, when the house is silent, when everyone is sleeping, with a heart wrapped in bitterness and pain, I hear his call ~ To hate him or to hate her.
That in this instance, it is okay if I don't forgive, that neither one of them deserves to be forgiven, energized by the hatred he knows I am a breath away from, he whispers over and over, encouraging me to have a hardened heart, towards the ones who inflicted unspeakable pain, in the pursuit of their own selfish happiness.
I have been taught to guard my mind, however, there are times that I inadvertently allow that guard down and that is when the foothold is opened for him.
I did it last night; dread and terror (not fear - sheer terror) dripped off me as if I had just showered under them and panic danced onto the scene, that cold hand spread across my throat, threatening to cut off my air, my heart was pounding as if it was going to beat right out of my chest, and I felt the cold sweat run down my back.
I haven't had a panic attack in over a year and a half (the last one was at Bible study) and I didn't want this one either, however the signs were in place and I just knew it was inevitable.
"Father, please, no."
I just returned home from a meeting and I could see the scene playing out in my head; I "see" the men I will face later on this month, for them to determine if I will receive a license to preach, the terror was now full blown and unkind words were all I could see; "failure" "you are a joke" "you don't belong" "you are different" "they will laugh" "they don't want you there" "you don't fit in, nor will you EVER fit in."
The hand of panic is squeezing tighter, tears filling my eyes, knowing the full blown panic attack is just about upon me and I can't stop it....
"Father, please, make it stop"
And somewhere, from the recesses of my mind, a verse came over me, not the complete verse, just a small portion ~
"Get behind me Satan"
As I uttered the words over and over, the squeezing became less intense, my breathing returned to normal, my heartbeat slowed and the tears subsided.
My Father came under me to lift me over the fear, over the panic and set me back on solid ground, no medication involved, just Him hearing my desperate plea.
The opinion of "man" has always been one of my downfalls, what "they" think of me and knowing what I am about to face has seriously placed a dent in my armor.
When I knew that this was indeed what He wanted me to do, I stood at His altar and promised Him that no matter what, I would face any and all adversity, even if it felt like I was standing alone.
Regardless of what any person might have to say, regardless of what any person may feel about me, my job is to obey Him and to serve out the purposes He has placed before me, to glorify His Kingdom...
No matter what.
Does this make me naive or simple?
It is a great possibility.
However, there is no greater opinion, blessing, nor honor... Than the one of my Father.
He is the one who has instilled my gifts, not "man."
He is the final judge of me, not "man."
He called me, not "man."
He paves my path, not "man."
Walking this road, I have learned that when I am the very closest with my Father, that is when I am going to be attacked, that Satan will be consistent in trying to kick me down and push me back, endlessly striving to break my spirit.
He wants my spirit broken.
He wants me to give up.
I will not bow down to him, nor to "man."
In the future, I will do well to remember these words.
You're Worth It, You Can't Earn It
Yeah The Cross Has Proven
That You're Sacred And Blameless
Your Life Has Purpose