The Lord’s delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in His unfailing love. – Psalm 147:11
This time last year I was in the midst of the most intense and terrifying spiritual warfare I had ever experienced. For six months I was left completely broken and unable to function. The oppression around me was so dense that I sincerely believed I could be physically harmed.
Not only did my mental health start deteriorating, but my physical health began to fail as well. I lost a large amount of weight and began having abdominal pain that would take me to my knees – leaving me with no appetite and only a few hours of disrupted sleep each night.
I was constantly crying out to God, begging Him to release me from the torment I was experiencing. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was not flesh and blood (Eph. 6:12) circumstances and that He was the only one who could deliver me from this battle I was in.
As days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, it was not easy to keep faith in God’s promises. I felt abandoned by God and left to fight this battle alone. However, I forced myself to persevere and continue to seek God during this time of trouble.
So, how do we hold onto hope when all hope seems lost?
Pray Without Ceasing
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I’m sure you have all heard of the saying, the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.
Thankfully, being a Christian, I knew better. However, I remember feeling like my prayers were futile. They all seemed to go ignored. Satan kept putting it in my head that God wasn’t answering my prayers because I was not under attack – I was just crazy!
But I stayed on my knees and kept praying. I began telling Him about all the confusion I was experiencing and asked for confirmation that I was indeed in a spiritual battle and that He was there with me.
In the end, He answered my prayers with three confirmations throughout those six months. And, although He didn’t send them when I wanted Him to, I took comfort in knowing that God’s timing is perfect (Eccl. 3:1).
Read Your Bible
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. – Psalm 119-105
No matter how many times you’ve read them, it’s amazing how often you can forget stories written in the Scriptures.
Every time I opened the Bible, it seemed like I was led to read certain stories or verses that were pertinent to my situation. Could that be because the word of God is alive (Heb 4:12)?
In my case, I was led to start reading the book of Daniel. If you haven’t read Daniel, in chapter 10, Daniel had been praying and fasting for three weeks. Finally, an angel appeared to him and told him that since the first day he began praying, his prayers had been heard in Heaven – but it was the enemy blocking the angel from reaching Daniel to answer his prayer.
How incredible is it that I was led to read possibly the most relatable story to my situation?
You see, when we read the Bible:
- We receive faith (Rom. 10:17)
- We learn how the word of God is used as a weapon against evil (Eph. 6:17)
- We learn what is true and what is wrong in our lives (2 Tim. 3:16)
- We learn how to succeed and prosper (Josh. 1:8)
Remember – God Has Not Abandoned You
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. – Psalm 13:18
I have to admit, I was pretty upset at God that I wasn’t receiving any relief from my situation. Not only was I praying without ceasing at home, but I was also being anointed with oil and prayed over at church every week.
Why did it feel like He had forgotten about me?
Through His confirmations to me, I finally started to feel Him near. However, God never left me for one second. And He’ll never leave you, either!
Romans 8:38-39 says:
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Continued Hope After the Battle
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. – James 1:2
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?
After surviving a tumultuous situation, we typically do come out stronger on the other side.
In 1 Peter 5:8-10, Peter writes a letter to the elders and young men warning them of the devil but reminding them of God’s faithfulness to deliver you from the suffering the enemy may cause. Peter tells them that through suffering, God will restore, support, and strengthen them.
I’m not sure if thankful is the right word to describe any of my afterthoughts from what I went through, but I can tell you that the little things don’t seem to bother me as badly as they did before.
I always did suffer from some anxiety and depression in the past, however, situations that I may have had anxiety over before, now appear to be trivial.
Did God want to strengthen me mentally and spiritually?
Did God give me this battle solely so I could share it with someone else needing encouragement?
I’m not sure.
One thing I do know is that I have hope that God will one day give me a full understanding
(2 Tim. 2:7).