A few months ago the Lord asked me to write another book. This was to be a book that to empower His sons and daughters to live more fully in the inheritance He provided through Jesus. It would be a book that focused wholly on the finished work of Jesus and our complete identity and victory in Him.
It was April when my family returned from a ministry trip to Australia and I finished the manuscript for the book He laid on my heart in the same month. Both were “high” points in my life and there was a sweet sense of amazement and satisfaction. I was thankful and life was good. I knew beyond a doubt that I was living out God’s will for my life. The moment of victory appeared short-lived, however, as the waters began to rise around me and my family almost immediately.
I was hit suddenly with sickness and painful physical symptoms. Our family was bombarded from many different directions with seemingly insurmountable issues. In the natural, everything seemed to be falling apart. It was as though I had been pushed from the mountaintop and thrown into the valley literally overnight. I felt as if I was lost in the wilderness. But I knew truth. I believed the promises of God and I chose to stand upon them.
Even as I prayed, took my authority in Christ, and spoke the Word over my body, family, and life, my physical symptoms intensified and other problems seemed to get more complex. Using my faith seemed to get me nowhere. Still, I held onto the hope of Christ and the message of His finished work.
The physical pain was almost constant. Some days were really dark, lonely, and at times the intensity of the battle was more than what I thought I could bear. I was fighting, but most days I felt like a wounded warrior at best. For the most part I kept it to myself. Only a few close and trusted friends and family knew about any of it simply because I didn’t want to give the enemy any ammunition.
The journey was longer and harder than I could have imagined it would be. More than once on this journey I cried. More than once I questioned what I really believed. More than once I wanted to give up. More than once I heard the words of my accuser, Satan…how can you preach a Gospel that doesn’t work in your own life…where is God in all of this anyway…you are living a lie….give up…don’t print that book…this doesn’t work…you don’t really believe…you are not called…you can’t possibly minister to anyone…you are weak…you are sick….God doesn’t even care…retreat.
Oh, but Hallelujah! More than once, the Spirit of God comforted me. More than once He spoke to me…do not give up…submit to Me by staying in agreement with My Word…resist the devil and he WILL flee…hold on…stand fast…the enemy is trying to steal My Word that has been planted in you…you are Mine…I am for you…I have called you…do not cast off your confidence…I am Truth…you are strong…you are healed…you are whole…I love you.
I also heard the sweet voice of God repeatedly instruct me to rest – not only spiritually in Him, but physically. I heeded His voice and while I still had ministry engagements and things to do, I made rest a priority. I stopped writing. I cut out everything that was unnecessary, and I spent hours listening for God and pouring my heart out to Him. Sometimes it was in the middle of the night when I was in too much pain to sleep. Sometimes it was in the car for hours as we drove across the country to minister. I felt nothing. The forest got darker, the symptoms became more painful, the problems lingered. There were many times I was discouraged and afraid. Still, I rested, I listened, I meditated on truth, and I waited.
Finally, breakthrough came in the depths of my soul, though not the way I expected at all. In that moment my symptoms were unchanged, but my heart was completely transformed. The revelation of God broke through the darkness somewhere along the way and I felt a sweet release in my spirit. Nearly four months since this whole ordeal began, I am writing again for the first time because it’s time. While I did not awaken this morning to a problem free life or a symptom free body (although my symptoms are less with each passing day), my heart is free, my mind is clear, and I am rejoicing in true victory. For true victory isn’t the absence of problems. It is, instead, the presence of Jesus.
Through it all I have learned much. My beliefs are more solidified than ever before. My God is good and faithful. My roots are deeper, and my passion and resolve more fierce than ever before. At the center of my life, family, writing, teaching, and ministry is the Word of God – the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the abundant life He provided. It is the only true message of healing, hope, and victory that exists. Any other message falls short of pure truth and fails to deliver. The enemy seeks to steal the message, but Jesus prevails!
I share my experience today with the knowing that someone somewhere will be encouraged by it. Whatever we face today we can be fully confident that BECAUSE OF JESUS, for every tear there is greater peace, for every doubt and lie there is greater truth, for every hurt there is greater healing, for every sin there is greater grace, for every loss there is greater restoration, for every disappointment there is greater hope, and for every defeat there is greater victory. Fix your eyes on Jesus – the Prince of Peace. He knows the way out of the wilderness even when we cannot see!