Today I want to exhort you and tell you about the grace that the Savior bears to His people, yes in everyday life, but especially when they are in need. In reality, we are always in need. We were formed with an innate need that could only be fulfilled by His presence in our lives, and indeed even those who do not believe in Him are held together at His command and by the common grace that he bestows to all humanity. But oh the grace, the special grace, that is given to His children when they cry out to Him. It is here rather than in the sunshine that we find He delights to hear our cries, and respond in shining salvation. Today, because it is the Savior I wish to make much of and not myself, I will share with you an experience of my own weakness, that you might see the work of His salvation in my life. Let’s begin:
In my life there have been several instances, particularly in my childhood, that the devil tried his very best to end me, and indeed he would have succeeded if it were not for the strength of God upholding me. I won’t pretend and say that I have had the worst experiences one could have, for I certainly have been fortunate, and even though I did not always feel it, I realize now the protection that he has had over me through the years. Yet the devil knows where we are weak and vulnerable, and perhaps because he recognized by fire and boldness for the Lord he tried his very best to silence this boldness, and this love. It doesn’t really matter what happened all those years ago; suffice it to say that painful experiences happened in a place where darkness reigned in prominence, determined to stamp out the light of which I was a bearer. A host of difficulties emerged, and for whatever reason whenever I returned to that place years later, I shook uncontrollably. That was before I learned that I could take back the power that the devil stole by a host of crafty lies. Not long after I went back by myself, I took a friend, and this was exactly what I needed. I still shook, but she helped me to begin taking back the power that was stolen from me by the enemy in that place. She made me realize that in a place where darkness still reigned I could not change the experiences that happened to me but I could stand in the gap for other people, and by blessing those that cursed me, begin to glorify the Savior and change the atmosphere to one of praise. That’s how we get our power back. Changing the atmosphere with our praise, rebuking the devil by opening our hearts (and voices) and letting worship pour out of us. The spirit of the Lord inhabits the praises of his people, and where His spirit is, there is liberty, and bonds begin to be broken (Psalm 22:3; 2 Corinthians 3:17). Before I rebuked the enemy in that place, I stood on a stump in one of the spots where so much happened, and I claimed it as a place of victory. Well let me tell you friends, on the way out there was a battle like never before. It is no coincidence that on the same stump that I claimed victory over the enemy, after I had gone forth and let the grace of Jesus overtake what the enemy had done, I was attacked hardcore by the forces of darkness. Having been walking momentarily with so much victory and confidence in my stride, the enemy attacked me with mighty force and in that moment a major panic attack ensued without warning as I reached the stump for the second time. I am not sure I’ve ever experienced anything like this spiritual attack before; this was more than anxiety. The devil wanted me to bow down. My knees felt weak, and it felt as though the atmosphere was pressing down around me. The enemy whispered “You think you’re strong now, little girl? You think you have power now? Bow down”. I could not breathe, I could not suck in air through my lungs. I shook and cried loudly; my body heaved. I leaned against the stump barely able to stand up. My friend stood next me and it was as though she had heard what the enemy was speaking to my heart; thankfully, she was clearly aware of what was going on. This was not a panic attack, this was a spiritual attack. The enemy was violently angry at what I had done, because not only had I taken back my power, I had stood in the gap for others, and asked God to bless when I could have asked him to curse. I was beginning to realize the bigger picture. “No” she said. “We’re not going to the ground, and we are not going to hide. You’re going to stand right here, because we don’t bow to the devil. He doesn’t get to win”. In that moment she encouraged me to sing. “I can’t” I choked out. “I can’t even breathe right now.” Her response was something that applies in a lot of situations. “Then ask for what you need”. And so I did. Crying, struggling to speak I said “I need Him to help me. I need him to give me His strength, because I’m not strong enough to do this”. I made that simple unelaborate statement to the Lord. In that moment, in that very instant, air began to fill my lungs. I kept praying, and then I began to sing. The shaking subsided, the panic faded. The attack was gone, Jesus, in his strength, had won this battle for me. His unconquerable Spirit had interceded for my fragile one. As I write this now I know how fond He must look upon this memory, because of the victory that He wrought in the life and heart of His child. Friends, life is hard. The spiritual realm never rests, but beloved we can. We can rest because we are His beloved; we can rest because He does not. We can ask for what we need. It does not have to be as dramatic a situation as this for Him to be available to you because He is always available to the tempted and the tried, the weary and the weak, the humble and the hungry. So I bid you as did my wise friend, ask for what you need. You must learn to ask for what you need, and to do this you must learn of your need. Perhaps you are wearily aware of this, or perhaps you are living the lie of self-sufficiency and Jesus must get you out of this. He is the vine, and we are the branches, and apart from Him we can do nothing…we certainly can’t be righteous on our own (John 15:5). Whatever your need, He will meet you in it. We weren’t made to live on our own, or for ourselves. We were made to experience his glory, and to glorify Him; made for joy and enjoying him, and he will always lend his aid to us when we call. The psalmist knew this. He says: “I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4). So come now, beloved of the Lord, and ask. Ask the Healer for what you need; find your hope in His all fulfilling love.
And now Father I ask that you would do as you have done so many times, and come to these beloved people in their need. Help us to so seek, help us to know how to ask, and let fear keep none of these children from asking. I ask that as you did and do for me that you would destroy the lies and the power of the enemy over your people. That they would no longer be hindered by lesser things or the bondage of enemy oppression. You alone know everything that we need, so help us to ask for what we ought. Have compassion on your worshippers and teach us how to be all that you would have us be. Above all, help us not to be afraid, even though there is much to fear. In Jesus name, Amen.
With very great love,