Mid-Saturday morning, I received the most hurtful email. The writer shared how her and her friends read my blog, and she basically surmised in bullet-point format their thoughts on how I had failed as a Christian.
I’ll only repeat a few of their comments…so hang with me. I promise there’s a redeeming reason in why I’m reopening this wound, and why a small part of me is thankful for her gumption to send the message my way.
One person said I’d lost my witness when: “she made the doctor her god. She is a hippocrit.”
And another, “Her condition is not critical.”
And the one comment that still stings, “What gives her the right to ask for funds. If she stayed local then she could pay like everyone else.”
The emailer ended with “I am not sure the public sees this as walking in faith.”
That’s when the nauseating feeling set in and my heart did the one thing my it’s not supposed to do: rapidly race.
More soul-searching needed to be done on my part, because these words were either: truth, partial truths, or an attack to hurt me emotionally and spiritually.
As soon as my husband discovered me coiled in bed, I let him read the email.
He shook his head, “This isn’t the truth.”
“Are you sure?” I wiped my eyes.
“Post this email to Facebook.”
I raised my eyebrows with much concern.
“Just post it and see what your friends say.”
So I did. (Leaving the writer anonymous, of course.)
And my gracious friends loved on me and encouraged me and prayed for me. Not one condemned me, although they probably could have, so maybe they were going a little easy on this sinful soul. Because the truth is I’m not perfect. I’m going to mess up and say something wrong.
I’m just a girl who loves Jesus and blogs about her journey through sickness.
Sometimes I need the gentle correction. But this whole kerfuffle ties into what I’ve been experiencing lately, starting with my new condition, and is possibly the underlying cause of the craziness in my life:
The enemy hates me.
He wants to see me blow it big time.
He hates that I blog transparently about my hardships, and ultimately give glory to God.
He hates that these posts could help someone who is walking through difficulty.
And if you’re a believer, he hates you too. (Sorry to say that.)
So attacking me, hitting me where it hurts most is the smartest move. Attacking my character was crushing, because I LOVE GOD WITH MY WHOLE HEART and never, ever, ever want to let Him down, let alone anybody else.
This is what’s so wounding.
That I may have misled you guys.
That I may not have shown as much faith as I should have.
I needed time to process, and sadly, I shared my raw heart with you about real fears.
My emotions swing to both sides of the range until I find the truth again and I make that my mission to help others through the middle…that sticky place that’s not fun to talk about. I wish more than anything in the world that I could be that person that immediately praises the Lord when the pain hits and declare with 100% unwavering faith that I don’t have a single fear.
I’m going to get there, or get really, really close. That’s my prayer. And that’s what I’m also praying for you.
Because we are in this together. We all face distraction/fear/pain/regret/mental head games. All of us. And I learned something just this morning that I want to share with you.
When those hurtful emails, mental doubt, or fear of the future come our way, I want us to know how to roar back at the enemy.
How to disable that yammering voice.
How to prepare ourselves to resist the devil’s mental attacks, so he will flee (James 4:7).
I’m all about tactics. I’m a bottom-line-me kinda gal, so here is my best attempt to summarize my morning Bible study that left me over-the-top exhilarated to have a new battle plan.
If there’s one person I can relate to in the Bible, it’s Peter. He gives me hope. This is why.
“Walk on water,” Christ encouraged Peter.
And he did. But then he doubted and sank.
Jesus asked Peter, “Stay, keep watch, and pray.”
But he dozed off.
“I will never disown you,” Peter promised.
Hours later, he denied Christ 3 times.
What a complete mess-up!
Oh, praise God our Heavenly Father decided to put these types of stories in the Bible for people like me to see that Peter, the rock, made mistakes.
I imagine satan whispering in Peter’s ear, “pssst…you’re going to sink, look down.”
“Just rest your eyes for a bit, you’ll pray better that way.”
“They’re all looking at you, deny him or they’ll crucify you, too.”
Peter learned a thing or two about how to serve the Lord, but his life wasn’t perfect and the mistakes he blundered through only made him stronger.
But Peter wasn’t the only one attacked by the enemy. Christ faced satan head-on when He was tempted after forty days of fasting.
He wasn’t gentle or kind and certainly didn’t cave in.
No. Our Lion of Judah, He roared back.
And that’s exactly what we’re supposed to do.
But what does this look like for me and you?
In my study I realized that resisting the devil looks a little like this:
When he attacks me with one of my fears, say for instance using the hurtful words from this email, I’ll tell him, “Every time you taunt me and tell me the lie that I’m losing my faith or my following or that I can’t write or I’m a hypocrite, I will fire back by researching the Word and writing more and tell the world the truth about Christ.”
Fear of failing health: “You can whisper that I’m going to get pneumonia again while recovering from heart surgery, or another blood clot, or another infectious disease during surgery, but I know the truth. God knows the plans He has for Me, and there is nothing you can do to stop my Father from fulfilling them, whether through my life, or my death. Bring it. Because I’m just going to tell ten more people how to outwit your lies. God is on the throne. We fight from victory, not for victory (1 Corinthians 3:21-23).”
These examples are one of many I learned from my Jon Courson’s Application Commentary Bible study this morning (New Testament pg 1582). Here’s an excerpt:
“You’re driving down the road and your mind is playing games with you. Here’s what you do: Go on the offensive. Say to the enemy, ‘I’m going to run right in your direction. God ahead and fire that arrow at me as much as you want. Put those thoughts in my mind. Play those games. I want you to know, however, that every time you fire one of those arrows into my mind, I’m not going to come down on myself… I’m simply going to take the same arrow and turn it against you. I’m going to pray for fifteen people I know who are also struggle with this difficulty. Take that.’”
“The enemy begins to see that every time he fires one of his arrows at you, he inadvertently causes you to pray for others. Since prayer binds satan, he suddenly realizes his plan is backfiring and he flees.”
“‘I’m so depressed,’ you say.”
“What do you do? Grab the weapon of the enemy and turn it against him. Go to the pit and say, ‘You can depress me as much as you wish, but every time you do, satan, I’m going to stop what I’m doing, and, by faith, give thanks to God for all the good things He’s done for me. I’m going to worship Him.’”
“Now, because Satan used to be the worship leader in heaven before being demoted to a snake in the dust, the sound of worship is like fingernails on a chalkboard in his ears. So he flees.”
“‘I just can’t stop gossiping,’ you say.”
“You can if you go on the offensive and say ten good things about the person whose name has come up in conversation. Seeing that tempting you to tear people down only results in you building them up will send satan running every time.”
“To resist the devil doesn’t mean you try to ignore the reality of the temptation. It means you take the very weapon fired against you and turn it against satan through intercession, worship, or praise.”
Freeing and liberating and so much truth written in these precious words.
Are you ready to resist the enemy? Are you ready to roar back? Good. Now, go fight that battle! I’m praying for you, praying that these words helped in some way? And praying for those who unknowingly harm our hearts.
“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
“The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1
PS I forgot to clarify that small part of me that was thankful I received this email. I’m sure you figured it out: Even if the sender had good intentions, this pain caused me to search for ways to resist the enemy’s mental attack. And for that reason alone, I’m so very thankful.