Today marks the anniversary of my husband’s brain bleed that halted our intended life’s plans and thus began another journey. He and I have different stories to tell regarding our experiences of severe trauma to the physical, emotional, and mental states of our being. Many of you have your own benchmark of hardships which cycle around the calendar each year. The fact that we each have a unique story to tell regarding the suffering in our lives, may be the ONLY thing we share in common. As we mature, we realize that no one escapes pain in some form, and we will all face the certainty of death at one point or another. If given the choice, many would frantically run to escape this pain -at any cost! Yet the Bible tells us “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4 ESV. We may react to this while scratching our heads saying, “HUH, ALL JOY? I can honestly say that I felt no joy while in the midst of the pain of that event yet upon reflection, I see many positives in eventual outcomes. But I have to ask, ‘how can we possibly be optimistic in our darkest moments’? Here are a few thoughts that may be helpful:
- We are never alone. Whether surrounded by family, loved ones, surviving a spouse, family member or simply residing alone, God is REAL. God not only exists but He desires to be in relationship with each and every one of us. If you don’t know this or have not been properly introduced to Jesus, STOP right now and honestly ask Him to show you how and He will absolutely show you. He will lead you to others who can help answer some questions and/or to His words which are written down for us in the Bible. (the smart phones even have a free Bible app called the ‘you version’ for your convenience). “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Hebrews 13:5-6 ESV. Any fear or event can be faced when you know that you are NOT alone.
- God doesn’t leave us unprotected during these times yet equips us to face whatever hardships that threaten to undue us. God has the perfect PPE (personal protection equipment) for each of us- and His inventory is never out of stock! One particular chapter in the Bible tells us to put on the armor of God:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. “Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
Ephesians 6:10-13 ESV
3. I used to think that the armor of God was too heavy for me to wear, prohibiting my desired movements. Also, this description of armor seems to protect us only from the front. Sometimes, we feel too weak to even stand up, let alone fight an unknown enemy in clunky armor and in a battle we never chose to fight in. Whether facing personal loss or reflecting on painful experiences- mentally walk through the next words asking God to Help you put on your armor.
“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,”
Ephesians 6:14-18 ESV
So, whether you are facing a personal loss or battle, a world war or pandemic, God is with us and He helps us. We still need to put on the armor He provides. He’s standing with you and hands you the PPE. God has your back, so you are protected and He surrounds you with others. Nothing will penetrate that armor though your circumstances may seem to defy it and your heart feels like breaking. He will get us through to victory and we WILL rejoice!
FE Moody 11/20/2020