Do you ever feel overwhelmed by God’s call on your life? In the midst of saying “yes” to Him and following His lead, do you struggle with walking it out on a day-to-day basis? I certainly do. In each area of my life, whether with my family or leading in ministry, I can find myself struggling, doing my best to hold my head above the rising water.
While giving my all to serve Jesus, sometimes I forget about the very real spiritual battle raging behind the scenes. When it gets tough, I pray. I remind myself that God is in control and that His Spirit dwells powerfully within me. But I lose sight that there is an enemy out there, and he is doing his best to thwart God’s children.
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8, NLT).
The reminder came to light in dramatic fashion the last couple weeks.
As the Executive Director of a non-profit organization, one of my primary responsibilities is to fundraise. Our biggest fundraiser of the year is held the beginning of November. It is a tremendous opportunity to raise both money and awareness for our ministry. There is a lot riding on the success of this event. There is also a lot of pressure leading up to it, starting in August and culminating on event day. I have come to expect it.
During this time period I enlist additional prayer, I schedule specific times for fasting and invite others to join me, and I surround myself with Scripture focused on the greatness of our Lord. However, I was not quite ready for things to unfold the way they did.
One week and counting before the big event…
- The doctor diagnosed my disabled daughter’s foot ulcer as infected to the bone and suggested amputation as a possibility.
- I contacted the hospital familiar with my daughter’s condition. I made the three-and-a-half hour trip there and back to transport her for admission and extended stay.
- After conducting some tests, the experts concluded that my daughter’s bone was not infected. She would be released once they decided on the proper treatment plan. They assured me they would find transportation for the trip home.
- A dear member of our former congregation passed away. The family requested that we officiate the service.
- Despite our request for confirmation of attendance, nearly one hundred people contacted us after the deadline. This caused additional work for seating assignments.
- Some of these people called to complain about their seating location.
- The caterer was unwilling to accommodate our request for additional guests.
- Our copy machine malfunctioned and needed to be repaired.
The day of the big event…
- I received a phone call that one of my staff members fell and cracked her head.
- The convention center had not set up the tables and chairs according to specification.
- The audio-visual equipment was not prepared for our camera man to provide a live feed for the event. The sound system technician was not present for our musician’s sound check.
- Several people called to cancel their reservations due to a death in the family, sickness, and other unforeseen issues.
- The hospital informed me that they were unable to provide transportation for my daughter to return home. She was ready for discharge and I needed to make arrangements.
The news from the hospital was the final straw. I wanted to quit, to announce to all the volunteers helping with set up that I was done. They would simply have to find someone else to lead. Why did the Lord place me in this position anyway? Didn’t He know that I can’t handle this kind of pressure?
Instead I cried out to the Lord for a sense of hope, to be carried by His strong arms. If He called me (and I know He did), He would need to equip me. Then, I spent some time in worship.
Every high thing must come down, every stronghold shall be broken. You wear the Victor’s crown. You overcome, You overcome!
(Victor’s Crown (c) 2013, Israel Houghton, Darlene Zschech, Kari Jobe)
As I listened to the bridge of this song, my spirit lifted. I realized that the last several days were more than a series of unfortunate events. I was in the middle of spiritual warfare!
I wiped my tears with firm resolve, fiercely determined to be the leader God called me to be. The darkness would not overcome me, because I serve the Overcomer!
Not everything bad that happens is directly from the hand of our unseen enemy. However, the devil and his demons use bad things to distract and discourage us. One of his tactics is to get us to take our eyes off Jesus and place them on the circumstances and on our own inability to deal with them. Watch out for the enemy! Then arm yourself with the truth that Jesus is victorious!
By the way, the fundraiser was incredibly successful. Much excitement was generated for our cause, and we raised more money than we have for many years. Yes, victory! Praise the Lord!
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes (Ephesians 6:10-11, NIV).
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
Heavenly Father, I confess that I forget there is a spiritual battle going on. Thank you for reminding me that the enemy is defeated and that, through You, I am victorious. Strengthen me to live for You and to lead where You have called me. May I not be discouraged by circumstances, but rather learn to trust You in the midst of the circumstances. You always overcome! In Jesus’ name. Amen.