I’ve felt as though I’ve been under a spiritual siege since July. Interestingly, it all started when I began preparing material to teach at our missionary training centre in the Middle East. (I’m limited in what I can say here, but I ask for your prayers for this trip September 28-October 9).
Throughout the summer, I sometimes wrote for hours—even days—and then scratched everything only to start over. It was like trying to drill through a brick wall using a Fisher-Price toy tool. Thankfully things changed, albeit in the last week. But during this time, my family relationships have come under siege, our monthly finances have hit a point of desperation requiring drastic measures to allow us to remain in ministry, and one of my kids has wrestled with fear and discouragement as she’s searched for employment to help meet her family’s financial obligations.
Every year the Lord gives me one word on which to focus. This year’s word was “deeper.” I based my Middle East teaching package around it. In a nutshell, the message on my heart is about intimately experiencing the presence and power of the indwelling Christ and how that transforms us. Sometimes it means putting into practice the things God commands even when everything inside us screams otherwise — like praising through the dark times, and forgiving those who break our heart. Writing and rewriting my material has driven my message far beyond theory. Circumstances have forced me to make it painfully personal, which is a good thing.
At any rate, the past couple of months have been a tough go. Thankfully my husband is a positive and godly man. Together we’ve chosen to praise God no matter what and to thank Him for His faithfulness in the past. We’ve also been thanking Him in advance for how He will address our current concerns.
God is answering in obvious ways. I want to give Him the glory for something He did yesterday.
As of Sunday morning, my husband and I were still $1900 underfunded for our Middle East trip. By early afternoon, two donations dropped that amount to $400. One of those donations came from a woman I met for the first time at noon. Her generosity left me speechless. Long story, but truly a divine appointment.
Mid-afternoon I received an email from one of my former students. I was an assistant dean of high school girls when our paths crossed in 1979. She found me on social media a couple of years ago and has emailed occasionally since.
Yesterday she wrote, “Hi Grace. You came to my mind when I read this. God knows where you are! May you be blessed as you follow His way.” Then she attached an article that reminded me of God’s involvement in every detail of my life. Reading it made me feel like I was wrapped in a cloak of His care.
I assumed that she’d written in response to my Friday’s blog. I was wrong; she hadn’t read the post. When I asked her about what prompted her to send the encouragement, she said, “The Lord told me to send this to you. I just did as He asked. I’m praying for you and your ministry.”
I’m telling you about what happened yesterday to give God a public thank-you and to offer encouragement to those of you wrestling with discouragement today.
I don’t know your particular circumstances, but this one thing I DO know: God knows your needs and He’s more than able to address them. His method of doing so may or may not happen according to your expectations, but He will act in His time and in His way, and that’s always the best way. I’ll gladly testify to that.
I’ll spend the rest of my day completing my Middle East teaching materials, wielding spiritual weapons of warfare as I write, fighting the enemy as he hurls fiery darts of discouragement and fear my way. The battle rages on, but the enemy cannot defeat me because God and I are on the same team. He knows where I am, and He reminded me of that through what He did yesterday and also by putting these verses into my mind early this morning:
“I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are discouraged take heart. Come, let us tell of the LORD’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears. Those who look to him will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces” (Psalm 34:1-5 NLT).
He knows where you are, too, my friend. The enemy may be trying to defeat you through difficult or painful circumstances, but he’s fighting a losing battle because God is on your side. Take heart in this truth. And then, based on the verses above, do these things:
- Praise the Lord during this time. Remember His sovereignty (He’s able to overrule in every situation), His holiness (He cannot lie about the promises He’s made to rescue you and meet your needs), His wisdom (He knows what’s best in your circumstances), His power (He can change those circumstances), and His love (nothing can touch you that doesn’t go through Him first, and He has your best interest at heart).
- Fill your mouth with life-giving words rather than negative talk about your situation.
- Pray—with a friend if possible.
- Keep your gaze focused on Him rather than on your circumstances.
If you’d like me to pray for you today, write the word “Pray” in the comment box. I count it a privilege to bring you and your needs to the Father’s throne.
If you’d like to join my personal team, send me your email address and I’ll add you to my list. I send updates every six weeks or so. Then you can give me your prayer requests, too, and we can mutually encourage one another on an ongoing basis. [email protected]
If you’d like to learn more about partnering with us in our international ministry that now reaches 19 countries, send me your email address and I’ll add you to our list. We send 3-4 newsletters/year. [email protected]