Isn't it the case that the most challenging moments in our lives can leave us feeling isolated and alone? We find ourselves up against something we barely understand, acutely conscious that we are out of our depth and yet help can seem of reach. Impossibility stares us down. We pray. We fight. We do what we can. And yet we still end up describing these moments as silent battles or quiet struggles. Why is it that our most challenging times so often see us cast in a scene as a lone character pitted against unreasonable odds? Is it true? In the fight, are we really on our own?
Anya and I have been leading others in prayer ministry for a number of years now. Our lounge room has born witness to a number of great breakthrough moments emerging out of times where the Holy Spirit takes over – identifying strongholds and their roots, gently plotting a course through difficult memories, healing wounds and breaking chains. And now that we've done this awhile, it's become obvious that there are some go-to strategies of the Enemy - strategies he uses repeatedly, on one person after another, time after time.
One standout is a stronghold that the Holy Spirit calls Rejection. Maybe a third of the people we have prayed with have carried this same wound. Rejection, when it is operating, leaves us feeling abandoned and cast away - alone in the fight.
However, if this issue is so common, are we really on our own in this battle? Or could it be that multitudes of people are facing the assault of a common enemy, who continually uses the same strategy to harm us? If that is the case then the reality shifts. We are not are not truly alone. We are, instead, part of a huge company of people battling Rejection, though we may not see our allies in the turmoil of a hard-fought battle.
Our spiritual adversaries have endured for thousands of years. They do not touch a single life - instead, they bring their poison and pain wherever there is the opportunity. But think of it - there are others out there also taking a swing at the very foe we are, bringing the same heart and intent, pushing back to overcome the same challenge. Coordinated by the same Commander, and as we unknowingly work in partnership, our strength is added to each other's and we get to prevail!
I think some of our most common Enemies - Fear, Rejection, Shame, Loneliness - they've spanned history and geography, all of them gradually succumbing to the blows of an army of faithful men and women down through the centuries from every place throughout the Earth. The reality is that some dark spirit that I oppose today might also have also received a wound from one of the great men or women of the Bible along the way; it's being weakened by the day, as God's people around the globe say 'enough is enough,' and rise up to overcome.
So, when I combat Sickness (capitalization intentional) in my family and you do the same in yours, we are working together. Because these foes persist from one generation to the next, I can fight against the same enemy that you face, or even one that opposed a Bible hero from millennia ago. Take Infertility for instance. As we face up to that heinous beast and fight to overcome him, notice the chips in his armor and cuts on his flanks!
Look there! Rebecca took a swing at that! Rachel gave her life to overcome him a second time and left awful wounds in his hide! Sarah cut a deep gash there! Hannah broke his helmet and Elizabeth is responsible for the gaping injury on his tail! He has fallen once, twice, so many times and just take heart - Infertility will succumb to your attack as well!
The nature of the reign of Christ is such that he will reign until he has put all of his enemies under his feet - and from the moment Christ ascended to the throne until today, he has made progress to that end. Some enemies are already under his feet, some are weakening, and soon our united attack will see them fall forever. The last chapter of Romans says that we can look forward to our enemies soon finding their place under our feet. Amazingly, our purpose and the purpose of the rule and reign of Christ is the same. Our battle is his and his fights in part are ours.
Three times in two chapters, Elijah speaks the words, 'I alone am left.' - it seems his descent into depression and discouragement is profound, even as miracles and tremendous revelation surround him. Nevertheless, those were the words in his head and on his lips, and they could well have been responsible for shutting down his spectacular and glorious ministry. Yet all the while, those words were blatantly untrue. In fact, God had thousands of faithful allies reserved for himself. Elijah was not alone - and neither are we. Maybe it is time for us to look up and fight with the hope and energy that flows into those who see the nearness of a shared victory.
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