There are only so many plays in a football coach’s play book. There are only so many ways you can adjust a baseball team, and only so many pitches that can be thrown. The devil knows a whole bunch of plays himself. He throws them constantly at you trying to distract you from what is true, from what is really happening. They come in the moments when I am alone and I have time to my thoughts. That happens to be a very large amount of time here lately. I can feel the thoughts creep in. My chest tingles through my arms and the bottom of my neck. It is a fear slowly crawling through my body. It makes sense that it would happen that way. I do in fact have a lot of things that I should be worried about. Some of them I have managed to beat with God’s help. Some of them are new things brought on by the clarity of seeing through many emotions and hurts that I have been dealing with. It is human nature to be afraid. It is Human nature to worry, especially about money, and jobs, and bills. These are all things that adults are supposed to deal with. These are real things. They pile on top of the things that I have already dealt with. They seek to drown the light that I see in front of me. Once again it is exhausting. It is very hard not to give in to that fear.
I have said before that the night time is when I have the most trouble. Everything is quiet and it is easy to hear all of the little whispers about the uncertainty ahead. Last night I had one of those really cool God moments when I realized that I was being fooled into these thoughts. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. The words that jumped in my head where, “It’s a trick, you’re being tricked into this!” As soon as I said that in my head it was like the little storm cloud over me left. I have had moments today to think about that a little bit more.
Years ago I had a group of friends that really enjoyed tricking me. We were actually on a mission trip when this instance happened. I was sitting at a picnic table watching people play jokes on each other with this ladies home grown jalapeno peppers and habanero peppers. This kind woman actually had a very nice garden she had let us grab some veggies from. I swear what I was looking at was a baby bell pepper. The girl sitting across from the table was one of those people who could play a good joke and she told me it was not a baby bell pepper. I didn’t believe her. I grabbed the pepper from the plate and bit hard into it. I was formally introduced to why the habanero pepper was used as rat poison. There was absolutely no taste to this thing, just pain. It felt like I had put a lit match on my lips and tongue. The pain did not go away for some time. The point is I had tricked myself into this mess. I had convinced myself that everyone around me was trying to fool me. Thus I ended up with my face in a garden hose for an hour. I let my own mind fool me into my own joke and my own pain.
I know it is a short little example but I think that it holds up pretty well in this instance. When we ignore the facts that God has given us and we let our own thoughts invade our being we get fooled into fear and worry. Let me look at a few of the facts that I have been given thus far. First, God has redeemed everything by His grace. Second, God has remodeled my heart to be able to bear so much more, and love in a far better capacity than I ever thought possible. Third, God has said that He would provide for all of my needs. Fourth, God has told me He is going to handle everything His way and in His time. All that I have to do is wait on Him and lean on Him for strength. These are very basic points of life. These are very basic building blocks of what faith is made of. I don’t have to be afraid for anything because God has already promised that he would handle it, in fact it is my belief now that God has indeed already handled it, I just haven’t crossed that point in time yet.
One of my favorite sagas of all time is the Star Wars Saga. In the final episode we see the rebel alliance mounting one last attack on their enemy. They move all of their resources to one point. They send in a sabotage team to make way for their attack. However the Emperor, one of the greatest villains of fiction, knows all about the little attack and has allowed them to get to that point. When the rebels appear and begin to make their attack they realize what is going on, and the line is said, “It’s a trap!” They peel off and begin to make for a contingency plan but in the end the day is won, good triumphs over evil. A happy ending is enjoyed, by all. Yes I realize that I am a nerd for having made a Star Wars reference, but I think it has meaning for this situation too. If it looks like a trap, smells like a trap, and feels like a trap it is a trap. Do not be fooled by the thoughts that seek to pull you back down. Everything I have ever read in my Bible is that God intends for us to find happiness in Him. God intends for us to be in a place where our focus and purpose is Him. So why in the world would He want to put us back into a place of worry. The fact is that He doesn’t want us to worry about anything. He wants us to rely on Him completely.
These are not easy things. It is easy to get caught up in low thinking. It is so easy to look around and want to scream about how unfair you feel that this is. Trust me, there are a lot of moment ins my day when I want to do that. What I am coming to realize however is that it makes no difference. It is a distraction. My focus must be on God, His word, and His love. How many times playing sports did I fuss at an umpire or official about things not being fair? And how many times did it help? Never! The same is true in my situation. I can say it’s unfair all I want, it doesn’t change anything at all. In fact all it does is make me lose focus on what is important in my life. I could just as easily focus on the problems at hand and work myself into a panic. I think I have done that enough to know that one it doesn’t help matters, and two, I don’t like the way it feels when I do that at all. It makes me feel sick, it makes me feel weak and blubbery and it makes me want to cry. I do not like feeling that way. The other option is to recognize what is going on for what it is. It is a trap, a trick, a ploy by the enemy to make me look away from God and focus on the problem. I have already learned that the solution is God. Why would I need to continue to look at the problem? I’m not saying there are not things that don’t need to be dealt with, because I cannot simply ignore everything. What I am saying is that if I have relinquished my control and am depending on God then that is exactly what I need to do. Ignore the traps and focus on what God would have me do.
I started doing some things a couple of weeks ago when this healing began. I do not get out of bed in the morning until I have prayed. I don’t want my feet to hit the floor with being in God’s will. The other thing is that I don’t leave the house before I have been in God’s word, how else am I going to hear His voice clearly. These two things have made a monumental difference. The realization of that was the first Sunday I went to church again. It was a reality check of what I had been robbing myself of. The only force in this Universe that is on your side is Christ. Everything else is seeking to destroy you, to crush you, and to make you utterly miserable. This includes your own flesh and brain. Guard yourself with the strength of God. When you see the trap, avoid it. Stay away from it. Don’t let anyone steal your ability to focus on Christ and your relationship with Him. It is a constant battle, but it can be fought by letting God fight it for you.