“Did the devil really steal your joy, or did you tell him he could hold it until God let you have your way?” Derron E. Short
I read that statement just four days after a devastating loss.
On day 3 of this past 21 Days of Prayer we had a miscarriage. We’d been believing for another baby for a year, and in one day we found out that we were pregnant and miscarrying. Needless to say, it was hard, and we walked away with more questions than answers in everything we were believing God for. Although I’d put on a brave face, it was a charade. I was really just attempting to stuff my grief so I didn’t have to feel the pain. Despite my best efforts, I lost that battle. Though it seemed concealed on the outside, it was reeking havoc on the inside. Then I read that quote. It got my attention. Not enough to break down my barrier of bitterness, but enough to penetrate it and linger in my mind. It’d be weeks before I felt the weight of its truth.
I wish I could say that I supernaturally experienced healing and peace despite our pain, that I never questioned God’s plan, love or sovereignty, but that would be a lie. Regardless of how deep my relationship is with my Father, I’m as human as they come. The pain of that loss numbed my mind and I allowed myself to hear every lie of the enemy.
Notice I said “allowed myself.” That means I chose to listen. The enemy never stops talking. He never stops lying. It’s up to us whether or not we listen. If we don’t listen, then we don’t hear him; which means he can’t hurt us. True there are situations where he steals our joy, but most the time, we don’t even realize that we’re voluntarily handing it over to him. I know because I realize I did it; and since this revelation, I know it’s not the first time!
The devil gets loud, and it doesn’t help knowing it’s him talking. In this situation, he was making a pretty good case. He reminded me of every other prayer we’ve petitioned to God for the last seven years or more…that still haven’t been answered, though we continue to press in and believe; standing in faith. In a moment, my pain and grief was no longer just about the loss of the baby we’d been praying for, but about every prayer that seemed to go unanswered. It felt personal, and where I’d been content to continue believing and waiting….suddenly I wasn’t. Angry, I wanted to throw my hands up and say “What’s the point, if He’s not even listening?!!” What I was really doing was throwing a tantrum that things weren’t happening the way I wanted them to, when I wanted them to. I even started buying into the belief that He didn’t care. That’s when that quote began registering in my mind, over and over again until I couldn’t ignore it. God was showing me I had a choice to make. To see it all through the filter of my pain OR to see it through His filter of purpose.
It’s not always about the anticipated miracle. It’s about who God is, where He has us on our journey and who we’re becoming.
How we respond to our circumstances is a direct reflection of our spiritual condition. Do we truly trust Him as much as we say we do? Do we really have the unshakable faith we claim? Even when circumstances shake us to the core? Can all our words and preaching/teaching be backed up by our actions in those moments?
We have to come to a place where we believe even if He doesn’t answer our prayer as we want or expect, He is still good, faithful and sovereign, and we will still love, trust and serve Him. He is still worthy of all praise.
We are the only ones who can govern our satisfaction and contentment; our joy. We can choose to trust Him and His plan for our lives regardless of what we experience in the natural, which is only a tiny part of a much grander plan; one that only He knows the rest of. And it’s good!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
Hear me, dear reader. The pain may be deep, but joy is still yours and satisfaction is found only in keeping your eyes on Him.
You are what God says that you are! You are enough!
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Heather Whidden loves Jesus, is married to her best friend and is mother of 3 blessings. She is a professional photographer and has a heart for ministry. She loves spending time with her family and friends, writing and reading. Time and people is what she values most. You can read more about her here.