Recently, my family has been through the wringer. There have been a series of small things that were just odd but made our lives much more difficult; there were also a series of big things that could have been devastating. One of the biggest things, and most recent, is that while my husband was driving home a couple of days ago, our van’s back left tire came off. Yep. He made a turn, and the wheel just kept going. All the nuts were gone, and two of the bolts were broken. Thankfully, he wasn’t driving very fast at the time, so he is fine, and so is our van, though it cost a pretty penny to get it fixed. We’re facing other challenges right now, too. My husband’s work is about to get exponentially more difficult than it already is. I’m finding it more challenging to take care of things around the house the further into pregnancy I get. There are many other issues going on, too, that I don’t need to get into here, but it seems like no matter what we do, we’re just barely keeping everything together at home and work. It is as though if we take a break, or even a breath, a dozen things are going to fall apart.
It’s exhausting, really. We’re both burnt out. We’ve been living like this for about a year and a half, and I’m just done. I’m done with the anxiety, the fear, the despair that I can feel creeping at our door. Really, I want to give up and give in. I don’t want to fight it anymore but give in to my despair. I don’t understand why most of this stuff is happening. Why is every little thing a challenge? Why do we constantly face pushback on the most fundamental things? Why do so many things keep breaking down? When can we take a break? What is going on?
During two different phone calls with mechanics this weekend, I heard this statement: “Someone might have sabotaged your car.” I scoffed at that, and so did my husband. Despite all the troubles we’re having, I highly doubt anyone hates us that much that they’d try to mess with our car so that one of us got into an accident. But as we talked about it the night we got our car back, we came to this realization: someone is messing with our car, and our life, but it’s not a person. It’s the devil.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.Ephesians 6:12-13
Now I know that might come across as shocking or hyperbolic, but hear me out. I can’t go into all the details of what has been happening in our life for the past 18 months or so, but a lot of it just doesn’t make sense. It’s unexplainable, outside of a spiritual explanation. As a minor example, some people at my husband’s work even joke that there are gremlins in the internet cables. There aren’t, and we both think the wires need an exorcism. As a major example, we have watched one area of ministry after another get undermined at our church, where my husband works, and no one else seems to see it.
There’s no explanation for why some of these things have happened to us recently except that we are part of a spiritual battle. This battle is no new occurrence from this week, though, nor unique to my family and me. I have no delusions about that. I am sure if you consider your own life, you will see this struggle, too. This struggle is a near constant, something everyone in the world experiences on a regular basis. The spiritual battle is going on all around us. One side is desperate to keep us from the Lord, and the other side is steadfastly keeping us in His hand. Sometimes, we feel it distinctly in our spirit when we are tempted to despair, we give in to fear, and anger fills us to the brim. We don’t want to be thankful, to pray, to do what we are called to do. Other times, we can recognize this battle in the physical world around us.
Surprisingly, this realization did not bring me to fear. Instead, I find comfort in remembering that we are not facing a battle of flesh and blood but of the spirit. Thankfully, this is not a battle I am supposed to try to control. I am merely to trust in the Lord and take up the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. I am to stand firm in trust and peace, knowing the Lord is the winner of this battle. In this, I find comfort. I take comfort in knowing that the Lord is with my family and me. He has our days in His hands. He loves us immeasurably. He cares for us. He asks us to place our anxieties on Him, trust Him, and love Him above all things, including our earthly troubles.
In remembering this, I realize that I have much to be thankful for. I am thankful that my husband still has a job, as difficult and stressful as it is. I am thankful that I am still able to care for my family at home. I am thankful that we have been blessed with money and preparedness to fix our van. I am thankful that the tire did not come off the car earlier that day when I was driving on the highway. I am thankful that I can turn to my Lord in prayer. I can ask Him for peace, for comfort, for guidance, for joy, and forgiveness. Turning away from the fear that consumes, I can now distinctly see how the Lord was protecting us this week, from little things as guiding my nightly reading one night to 1 Corinthians 13 to making sure I wasn’t the one in the van when the tire came off. God has provided us with many other blessings as well, both this week and in the months before. They are innumerable! Even when the evil one tries to hide them (God, really) with problems and despair, those blessings are there.
This battle is not ultimately up to me. Though we are facing a rough start to the year, it is another start, another day, another gift of life. My life is no less in the Lord’s hands today than it was two years ago. He still holds us. We may be tempted to despair and fear, hate and anguish, but I know now where that is coming from. It is not because of my circumstances, and it is certainly not from the Lord. For in Him, we have been given a spirit not of fear but of power, love, and sound mind. It is in the Lord I have put my trust. So although these little and big trials are confusing, and sometimes quite distressing, I have peace. I have peace not because I am in control or know what changes or challenges lie ahead, but because I know my Lord holds the future and the present. I trust in Him, and in that, I have peace.
I pray that in whatever you may be facing, big or small, you also will trust in the God of all comfort, the God of peace, the God who loves you immensely, for He will take care of you.
Blessings to you and yours,
~Madelyn Rose Craig