“Praise and thanksgiving in all things is a powerful spiritual weapon.” Those words leaped off my calendar yesterday. As always, God’s timing was perfect.
Let me explain…
I am currently making my way through the hardest thing I’ve ever had to face. Like many of the challenges that have come before it, this journey involves living into what I’ve written – both in this blog, and in my book: trusting God, letting go, patiently enduring suffering, nurturing hope despite discouraging statistics, and more.
It has been a joy to discover that I have grown spiritually since I last covered this ground. Don’t get me wrong. Fear and doubt have their moments. They rush at me like tidal waves and threaten to drag me under a turbulent sea of uncertainty. But then, I remember what I’ve learned – and what I’ve tried to teach you: give up the illusion of control, take fearful thoughts captive, claim God’s promises, and speak words of confident hope over your circumstances.
When I do these things, I find myself strengthened and encouraged. I discover that I’m able to swim to the surface of the anxiety and gain a new perspective – one that sees things very differently and recognizes there is more to reality than what I feel.
Those feelings are deceptive. I know. I remember. They mislead me into sensing God’s absence, or worse, a lack of concern for my struggles. Of course, that is a lie whispered to me by the one who hopes to deceive me into despair – and ultimately, into a sense of separation from the God who loves me.
That’s why words of praise and thanksgiving are a powerful spiritual weapon.
Jesus’ last words before leaving this earth were, “I am with you always.” Always. In fear. In darkness. In uncertainty. In despair. In confusion. In grief. In a sense of separation from the love of the Father that is only an illusion, an attempt by God’s enemy to trick me into grieving something that can NEVER be lost.
God has not abandoned me! Christ has not forgotten me. The Holy Spirit has not left me. “I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’” That is the Truth. That is the life raft I cling to whenever waves of fear wash over me.
Last week, I made my own journey to the cross. I brought my hope for the outcome I want and laid it at the feet of the God I trust. I poured my heart out, along with my tears, and confessed my deep desire to control things I cannot control and force an outcome I cannot force. And then, I let go.
I acknowledged the very real possibility that this will end differently than I would have scripted. I grieved that possibility – and then I opened my hands and said, “Your will, not mine.” My whole heart has chosen trust and obedience. I accept whatever is coming with praise and thanksgiving.
I genuinely believe that, even if I can’t see it, God’s will will be His best for me. And I choose to claim that now. Confident that He will not fail me. He will not leave me or forsake me. He will not forget me or neglect to bless me. Despite the fear that uncertainty evokes, I believe. And therein lies peace. The ultimate spiritual weapon.
Whatever the outcome of this particular medical battle, I have won in the way that matters most. Thanks be to God.