Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:11-13 NIV
Without going into specifics out here in public, I feel I’ve been under attack from many sides, in terms of career, home, relationships, finances, and health. A family member has a terminal disease.
I lived my life frugally and as a saver. I contributed liberally to my church and helped others with long-term support and interest-free loans. My credit cards had zero balances, and I held a healthy equity in my house. I did everything “right,” but that was the old financial reality. Everything has changed, and I’m in the same sinking ship as the people who never saved, who spent lavishly on credit and then suffered the consequences. (Except that they’re eligible for government assistance, and I, a taxpayer for 35 years, am not.)
But what hurts most is the attack on love. There’s rejection and apathy from a person who was extremely close to me, who should have loved me unconditionally. Another person who claimed to love me like a daughter—doesn’t. I suspect neither of them knows my deep sorrow at the loss of those relationships.
Just when I’ve become accustomed to living with the pain of the most recent wound, another blow falls on me. How much more am I expected to take?
How does that happen to a person who has obeyed God’s voice, and has committed one’s life—in every respect—to the Lord? I’m still waiting for those blessings promised by the feel-good TV preachers. You know the ones: have faith, claim your promises, speak prayer and blessings over situations, always be positive, follow the commandments and you’ll be blessed, smile and be joyful, etc.
I am blessed to have loving, accepting friends, including my brother and sister-in-law. But I crave being the most important and beloved person in another human’s life. And that has never happened. There’s a line in a play by Christopher Marlowe that describes what I want but can’t have: “He loves me more than all the world.”
Rather than waste time feeling sorry for myself, I hang on (by my shredded fingernails) to promises that God does love me unconditionally and with a passion. Wearing armor against the attack, I put one foot in front of another, and keep going, because the Psalmist says that we walk “through” the valley of the shadow of death. We don’t stay there. We keep walking, until we’re back out in the light and life.
Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:9-10 KJV
I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...
You are precious to me.
You are honored, and I love you. Isaiah 43:1-4 NLT