For much of the past week, the flu gripped me like a vice, leaving me feeling defenseless. It has been many years since I felt so thoroughly miserable.
While enveloped in the fog of fever from which I have finally emerged, my thoughts got away from me into a place that I do not like to visit – a dark and lonely place of self-doubt and questioning – a place where nothing I do is quite good enough.
Because I did not have the mental or physical strength to pull myself out of this funk, I spent the entire week lying in bed and questioning myself. Things that I was confident and excited about just a few days earlier were put on the chopping block because I was sowing seeds of self-doubt.
Simultaneously, I felt the almost tangible presence of the adversary – a feeling so unnerving that it is difficult to describe. It felt as if he was right next to me, watching and laughing while I fought in my weakened state to get on top of the same insecurities that almost broke me many years ago.
Thankfully, as the fever subsided, clarity started to return to my mind, along with a measure of peace. I quickly came to my senses and realized what was happening before allowing my thoughts to continue on their destructive course.
The haunting memory of the battle, however, still remains clearly etched into my heart. It serves as a staunch reminder of the reality that we all have an enemy in this life who seeks to bring us down, and he does not play fair.
He waits until we are weak, until we have been beaten down by the challenges and frustrations of life, until we are confused and disoriented and don’t know which way to turn – and that is when he strikes.
He preys on our weaknesses and insecurities, trying to convince us that we will never be strong enough to come out on top. He knows if he can get us to doubt ourselves and our innate ability to do good, we will never reach our God-given potential, and therein his victory over us begins.
So he sits by and laughs as we struggle, working tirelessly, cunningly, subtly to convince us that we are powerless against ourselves and, ultimately, against him.
That is one big devilish lie.
James teaches, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
The truth is that the father of lies whose goal it is to destroy our peace and happiness only has as much power over us as we give to him. We each have the ability to resist him and rise above the deception, temptation, and self-doubt that he holds over our heads.
We are stronger than we realize, and we must fight like there is no tomorrow. Our very souls are on the line, but there is hope, for darkness cowers in the face of light. Every. Single. Time.
God is light, which makes us children of light. We were born to chase darkness away.
We were born to shine.
We must not lose hope. We must fight on, especially when we are tired, weak and overwhelmed.
Our Father, whose light we were born to carry, will come to our aid when we call. He will give us strength and help us to overcome our personal weaknesses. Of this I am sure.