Warning: I purposely didn’t edit this post. I wanted it to be my raw thoughts and feelings as I wrestled with God this morning. I have a feeling if I polished it and made it read perfectly it would lose some of its authenticity. This is me at my most real.
This morning while eating breakfast, I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a picture titled, “The Devil’s Rollercoaster.”
A terrifying contraption to be sure. Lots of peaks and valleys with little room on a peak to catch your breath before you plummet, head-first into the next depth. The valleys weren’t all that big either. But where the terror lies is in the laborious climb up and then the plunge straight down. And to keep things interesting there are plenty of jolting twists and turns to disorient you and make you forget which way you are going.
I stared at the picture for a long time. Stunned. This is a perfect illustration of the season I’m currently in.
More often than not I’m in a good mood. I laugh easily, and I look for silver linings in every cloud. I choose joy when happiness is not available. And I do my best to spread that joy to others. No, I’m no Pollyanna. These are deliberate choices I make as I cling to “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
However, for the six months or so, my usual has been getting harder and harder to maintain. My life feels much like this rollercoaster. Deep valleys that don’t last long because I’m determined to climb up using the Word of God for my strength, guide, and energy and prayer to keep me focused and determined. Finally, I reach the peak! I take a deep breath and take in the view. I feel elated “that’s over” and thankful I persevered and made it though. And just as I let my sore muscles relax I’m plummeting down again, uselessly scratching and clawing trying to stay on top. And the cycle repeats itself.
But this picture. Stopped. Me. In. My. Tracks.
“The Devil’s Rollercoaster” aptly named. For months I feel like I’ve been under spiritual attack. I know Satan is not happy about what I’m writing my Bible study about—overcoming obstacles to engage in a deeper, authentic, more meaningful relationship with Jesus. I know he hates what I write to you here on this blog. He wants me to tickle ears, tell you what you want to here. But I don’t I shoot straight, and I know I offend by adhering to what the Bible says. People tell me not to get too deep into the content, to not call a spade a spade, not to take Scripture so literally—but I refuse to do that. God called me to write about His Truth, and that is what I do. And Satan HATES it!
Hence the roller coaster. Or so I thought.
As I stared at the picture I started to talk to God about it. I ranted about what Satan has been up to and asked Him to make that slippery snake stop.
“Are you sure it’s all him?”
“Excuse me. What?”
“Are you sure it’s all him?’
“Well, who else would it be??”
Before I could release my incredulity, “I have allowed the Spiritual attack, within reason.”
Then He led reminded me of the Israelites.
- Freshly released from slavery, they were finally going to their Promised Land
- Many thought the Promised Land was a fable, a fairytale—but turns out it’s a real place
- Instead of taking them directly there God led them on a roundabout route to the Red Sea
- He knew if they faced opposition they would run back to bondage
- But He had other plans in mind
- The Egyptians are coming; The Egyptians are coming!
- Death stared them in the face, goaded by the demonic hoards from Hell
- God stopped them with fire while His people escaped through the Sea on dry land
- Then He lured them to follow
- Once they were all within the wall of water, He allowed them to crash in
- Wiped out the entire army
- God performed the miraculous; displayed His power and ability to save
- 3 Days later – Test #1—Thirst
- There was no water and hadn’t been for 3 days
- Instead of calling to God, the people complained and yeared for Egypt, aka slavery
- If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you. Exodus 15:26, NLT
- God provides our most basic needs
- Not long after that—Test #2—Hunger
- God humbled the Israelites with hunger
- Again they failed and complained
- ‘Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Deuteronomy 8:2-3
- God humbled the Israelites with hunger
- 40 years of wandering—every need was met
- God was looking for a surrendered heart to Him
- For all these forty years your clothes didn’t wear out, and your feet didn’t blister or swell. Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own Deuteronomy 8:4-5
Why was this significant? God is also leading me to a Promised Land of sorts: Writing, publishing, and speaking.
There is a lot to be done, miles to travel to get there. But though this wilderness part of the journey He’s been testing me, strengthening me, and building endurance—a stick-to-itness. He is also tendering my heart, breaking it for what breaks Him. He is giving me His love and passion for the upcoming generations and the women who are raising them. (That last part is new to me— a fantastic gift I never held before. I have always loved students (those who follow Jesus and those who don’t) but their mamas/guardians is a blessed new addition that makes my heart swell!
God knows my needs:
- Creating a dedicated prayer team for my fledgling ministry
- Growing my audience
- Subscribers to my website/email list
- Followers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
- Booking speaking engagements
- Entering into a relationship with an agent
- Finding an editor and publisher
God also knows my desires:
- Improve my writing skills
- Find a writing mentor
- Attend Mount Hermon Writer’s Conference next winter
- Financial needs
- Scheduling needs
My point? My roller coaster ride of the last 6 months is not about to come to a complete stop any time soon. There is still so much to work through, stressors coming from various angles, and our first son to send out into the world. But my perspective is different. Despite the chaos, the ride feels more secure. Like those bars that squeeze you into your seat, my Father’s hand is holding me tight. I’m safe. I won’t fall out. There is a plan and purpose in all of this. And I will be in one piece when I come to the other side. I might look like a wild woman when I step onto the platform—hair all over the place, makeup smeared, walking a little strange due to sore muscles. But I will be stronger, refined, better.
THE SAME IS TRUE FOR YOU!
After Moses died, God put Joshua, Moses’s long time aide, in charge. He commissioned him with these words:
After the death of Moses the Lord ’s servant, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant. He said, “Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead these people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them. I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you— from the Negev wilderness in the south to the Lebanon mountains in the north, from the Euphrates River in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the land of the Hittites.’ No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. “Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey EVERYTHING written in it. ONLY THEN will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For THE LORD YOUR GOD IS WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU GO. Joshua 1:1-9, emphasis mine
Cling to your Savior, Beloved! He is in control. He has you in the palm of His hand!