If this blog is truly "A Life Examined", then I should share some of the difficult stuff along with the mountain-top experiences. Sometimes, of course, the two can go hand in hand. That's why I chose the photographs I took of the sprinkler system - because God's spirit can be like refreshment on a dry and desolate day...
Yesterday morning I woke up tense after several disturbing dreams. I climbed out of bed with both a headache and a heart ache. I felt dark, oppressed, and almost hopeless. There was pressure around my heart and in my head and I felt like something bad was pressing in.
So I washed my face, drank a cup of orange juice, and set out with Scout labradoodle for our morning walk. Typically I shake the cobwebs out of my head in the first few hundred yards – a half mile tops. But this time the shadows persisted, and by the time we’d put in three miles I felt a palpable sense of dread.
I tried praying, humming hymns, and talking to God about my day. After breakfast I read some scripture, went through the motions of morning devotions, and prayed again. But the sense of oppression pushed back.
Later, I hopped in my car and headed out for an interview over in Plant City. But the feeling was so strong I wasn’t sure I could pull off a positive conversation. Again, I asked God to intervene.
And that’s when it hit me, driving with the windows down and the roof open, sunlight streaming in on a simply gorgeous morning. “I’m under attack, aren’t I?” I said out loud. “This is spiritual.”
Then, and as if the Spirit had planted the thought (which remains an excellent explanation)... “Attack means I must pose some threat to the enemy. The New Testament writers talked about being considered worthy of persecution for the sake of Jesus. Hmmm, why don’t I approach this whole idea as a potential blessing – something that indicates I’m actually achieving some ground for the Kingdom - and therefore worth taking the trouble to mess with.”
So I thanked God for being active in and through my life to the extent that the enemy feels threatened. And I immediately felt this rush of peace replace all the anxiety, and I thanked God for being there, with me, in the middle of it all.
Then, as if on cue, when I un-muted the radio the opening measures of a song came through: “Lord, make me an instrument of your love.”
And then I understood; God had allowed me to struggle for a reason. God wants me to realize what an important fight this is, how far-reaching the repercussions are, what a tenacious enemy we have, and - most importantly - what a gracious presence the Holy Spirit is willing to be, teaching us all we need to know in the Father’s good time.
So there you have it. A slice of darkness. Something I'm no longer fearful of - but would just as soon not repeat just the same.
Peace - and I mean that - DEREK