It’s nights like this when we’re still transitioning to Daddy’s second-shift job, so this mama is taking care of all the homework, all the practices, all the kid needs and pet needs and food needs.
All. The. Things.
And of course, Daddy forgot to put the soccer equipment back where it goes, and he didn’t tell us where the middle boy’s practice is actually taking place, and he hasn’t answered his phone yet. Nevertheless, the mama and the kiddos make it to soccer practice on time, and after practice is over, they make it home safely.
Just as they pull in the driveway, she dares to think for one second that maybe this won’t be so bad – that the Lord is helping her through – that she can do it! She can handle this second-shift switch. She has the Lord with her and in her, and with His help, she is able!
Then it comes, the attack.
The kids disobey repeatedly one right after the other, requiring discipline and delaying bedtime, the dog eats food from someone’s plate, and then, the straw that breaks the mama’s back, the dog poops. Inside the house.
And this mama, she’s sorely tempted to throw a little temper tantrum; a few tears do leak down her face as she wavers between right and wrong. But instead of giving up, she cries, “Mercy! Have mercy on me Lord.” Because in a matter of seconds, she’s been reminded of how great her need is, how quickly she is prone to sin.
She knows He is there.
She believes He is there.
She has faith that He is there.
I can’t, Lord. I just can’t, she silently pleads.
I know, daughter. That’s exactly the point. You can’t, but I can. Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world! The Father whispers back.
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (NASB)
Have you noticed that just as soon as all seems well, and you believe you’ve won the victory, that’s the moment, the moment when the enemy strikes.
And we rarely see it coming when we’re on those mountaintops, do we? That’s what makes the blow so hard, the sudden severity of it all, from calm to chaos with little to no warning. It feels like the blast from a spiritual landmine that was inadvertently stepped on.
The key to surviving that blast, to weathering the storm well, is to remember that we are not alone.
We are not alone in being tempted.
We are not alone in our struggles.
We are not the only ones suffering on this Earth.
It’s hard to throw yourself a pity party when you remember the suffering of others, isn’t it? Or when we remember the suffering of Christ?
I share this with you because maybe you’re there tonight, too, friend. Maybe you’re wondering how to survive the latest blast.
Maybe your proverbial back has been broken, but you are fighting like mad not to let your spirit be broken, too. Maybe it’s more than just one bad night for you. Maybe you’ve had all you can take, and you just want to rage against the heavens. Maybe you’re just plain weary of life in general, and you’ve resigned yourself to a hopeless, joyless existence.
If so, I want you to know that He’s only a prayer away, and that He won’t leave us alone to face all the hard things. Just as Paul wrote to the church at Corinth,
“we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 (NASB)
Did you catch that, friend? We carry the dying of Jesus so that we may also display the life of Jesus, the victory of Jesus! The tough times hurt – oh, yes they do – but they bring with them life!
We must keep in mind that the pain bears a purpose that will one day be revealed to us, even if that unveiling happens on the other side of glory. And that in the meantime, He’s working those tough things together for our good, drawing us near to Him, refining our faith, creating new life in us.
Like a child’s growing pains, the work in progress is painful but life-giving.
That spiritual landmine is not the end of you, friend! You may be weary of survival mode or even recovery mode, but the key to real victory is not arriving on the other side. The key to real victory is just to keep fighting the good fight, no matter how difficult.
Your God is with you, and He wants desperately to carry you through!
Will you cry out to Jesus tonight?