Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
He restores my soul.
It was Friday. I was burnt out, like a fuse that had been shorted. I was running late going home from a half day at the office. I grabbed a last second haircut and stopped at Target to pick up some goodies for the drive. I raced home and we gathered up our things and our kiddos. We took the short drive to my parents house where our two oldest loves would be spending the weekend. We were taking our three month old breastfed daughter on our spur of the moment trip. We were celebrating our 8 year wedding anniversary 2 months early. With adoption just around the corner, our chances of getting away in the next 4-5 months are nil, so we decided to go now. Our youngest was usually a trooper on the road. The drive should only have been about 2 1/2 hours. My wife and I were ready to escape for a couple days, reset together as a couple in Christ, so that we could get ready for the arrival of our adopted daughter.
Satan had been attacking us for weeks. We both expected a final onslaught from the enemy. He brought it. We weren’t to the end of the road before our D button on the panel started blinking. A couple phone calls before we hit the highway told us that we had to have our transmission looked at, fast. Our car would be going nowhere for the weekend. We trailed back to my parents. Reloaded our stuff into my mom’s car (which is a little more luxurious, so I was happy about that part) and headed off after a 30 minute delay. We first hit heavy traffic on a highway leading out of town to the interstate. It moved slow. We hit each light. Finally getting onto the interstate. But it got worse. About 30 minutes in we ran into some of the worst traffic congestion I have ever been in. We went about 1-2 miles over a period of 45 minutes. Our daughter woke up in the middle of it, screaming, hating the car seat. We felt the waves of loss and hopelessness climbing over our mouths and nostrils. I was ready to call it off.
We forged ahead.
We knew what was going on. We knew Satan was trying to attack us one final time, to dissuade us from getting alone with God, to pouring into each other and Jesus. He knew we would be strong if we did came together with Christ. Satan wanted us to go back in defeat. We recognized the attack for what it was. We stopped the maddening silence in the car and prayed together. It sent the enemy packing.
God did some amazing work in us this past weekend. There were moments during that drive, as the sun was setting and we climbed higher into the foothills and the shadows went deeper across the interstate, where I was crying. I was letting out the fear that I had kept inside. I have so many bonds to fear. SO many. But this past weekend I started making choices to break those chains.
A drive that usually took 2 1/2 hours turned into 4+ hours. After pouring our hearts out to each other and God, we stopped for dinner an hour outside of our hotel. It was dark out. I felt drained, but a good drained. You know after a long cry and release of all that you have kept bottled up comes out and you feel exhausted but finally, finally you feel the relief. The relaxation. The rest and relaxation of not having to carry the burden any longer. It was a memorable dinner.
We had such a lovely weekend. There were times when the fear came back. I fought back with worship. I want to be a man of God who when I am placed in situations that are scary to me, I respond in peace and calm because I am in the presence of Jesus’ Spirit. I am always in his presence, because my body is his temple. I worship him inside his temple. I can always worship him and I choose to do so.
We ate fantastic food. We even went to a really cool shabu shabu place. It was our first time to try it out and it was super fun, one of the best dinners I’ve ever had. If you don’t know what shabu shabu is, it means “swish swish” in Japanese. Basically you get a boiling pot of water with spices in it and a plate of raw veggies and your choice of protein. You then “swish swish” the meat and veggies in the boiling water and dip them in your sauce and eat them with your rice. It was uh-may-zing. And then at the end they use the leftovers of your boiling water, meat and veggies to make a soup. I can’t even tell you how amazing the soup was. It was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.
We also went to a cute french restaurant for Sunday brunch. The fire was going in the fireplace as I munched on my strawberries romanoff and crepes. The scene was a blurry vision of a living room that I long for in our Father’s hosue. It was lovely. It was restorative. I could feel God working in these different places to restore my soul.
Psalm 23:3 – He restores my soul
Satan can’t win without us making choices to go along with him. He has to have collusion with our choices to claim victory. He does know how to knock us off our feet and he knows just where to hit us to take our breath away. BUT, God allows this so that we can see that we really are totally weak without him. We need Jesus, at every moment, in every place, at every time. We need him. We cannot defeat our enemy without Jesus. We are weak without Jesus. We are marked for slaughter without Jesus. We are the sheep and the wolves, Satan and his demons, walk around the perimeter waiting to pick off one of us to eat. We need our Shepherd! We need our Shepherd’s rod to strike the predators waiting to kill us. We need our Shepherd’s presence, oh God, we need you so badly!!
I am not perfected, not yet. But the spiritual tinnitus that has been blocking me from hearing my Love Jesus has been lowered down. The chains of fear haven’t been all cut loose. But I have a pair of razor sharp chain breakers and I am choosing to cut every one of them. I am still scared, deep down, I’m still afraid as a little boy of the dark. As my son is afraid sometimes to walk down our dark hallway, so I’m afraid too sometimes. But I can see my Jesus, my Shepherd, and his rod and his staff comfort me when the lights go off.
I can do this.
We can do this.
We can finish the race. We can continue on. We can fight this spiritual war, it is bloody, it is violent, it is messy, but we can, and we will, claim victory. We will take the high ground. We will slaughter our enemy, Satan and his fallen angels, by our Savior’s breath. We will win. We will save others too from the burning fire and they will come with us. We will win. We will be with him, now and forever. He will never leave us nor forsake us. We are saved, hallelujah and praise Jesus now and forever, we are saved in his grace through the cross!
Let’s do this.
God bless you my friends, my sisters and brothers, as we go through Monday, through the week, through the miry bogs, through the dark and scary forests of the world, through the joy and the sunrise and the pain and the fear. Our Savior is with us, our Beloved Jesus. He is wonderful and lovely and perfect. He is perfect. He is God.