Do you know anyone who hasn’t been afflicted with hardship in the past fifteen months?
Maybe you do. It’s probably easier to name those people than list all the ones reeling in one way or another.
During tough times, it’s easy to lose your roar. Your passion for living beyond your circumstances, your life focused on God.
But denying you’ve lost your roar when you have is no good. God wants you to live an authentic life.
So what do you do when you’re lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut? Here’s what David did (Psalm 77:1-3, BSB):
I cried out to God;
I cried aloud to God to hear me.
In the day of trouble I sought the Lord;
through the night my outstretched hands did not grow weary;
my soul refused to be comforted.
I remembered You, O God, and I groaned;
I mused and my spirit grew faint.
God can take your yelling. Crying. Foot stomping. Fist shaking.
That’s what I call GIOGIO: Get It Out and Get It Over. Get it out of your system. BUT with a caveat: In what you say TO God, be careful what you say ABOUT God. Click To Tweet
Wrestling with why
You can say you don’t understand. That you’re tired of the fight. That you don’t see the sense in continuing because you can’t see any light in the tunnel. But don’t blame or belittle God. Satan will use what you say about God to drive you into a ditch. He’ll spin your spite into lies then whisper them in your ear. On repeat.
Life is tough to swallow when it seems you have more than your share of misery.
But the enemy’s time is short; so he’s intent on inflicting as much pain, doubt, and agony on us as he can. He’ll turn pain into pity, anxiety into trauma, doubt into despair.
I’m not saying ignore your emotions. Pain, fear, discouragement, and all that are real.
Why would God allow a friend to be flattened for four months with Lyme disease that came out of remission—again? (I personally know the physical, emotional, and financial agony of that.)
Why would God allow a pastor/author to lose his brother to cancer—and have that be just the latest in a string of crushing losses?
Why did I get the largest writing contract of my life—only to have it rescinded two weeks later on a technicality? That would have cleared all my outstanding medical bills (and then some). Now I’m out of work again. Why?
Seriously, I’ve wondered about that sieve.
I admit I’ve asked God to give me a vacation from whatever character-building program He’s enrolled me in. Then I realize that’s a selfish thought. My hardships aren’t just about me. Neither are the results that will come from seeing them through.
Yes, I’ve struggled to get my roar back.
How can you roar when you can barely croak out a prayer? When you can’t see God coming through your storm?
Here’s what I’ve learned through recent troubles.
(1) Satan’s only weapon against you is deception.
In Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian sees a palace and hopes to lodge there. He heads down a narrow passage toward the porter’s house, only to be stopped by lions blocking the way. He’s terrified, but he can’t see that the lions are chained, incapable of harming to him. Ask God to show you doors of doubt, fear, and so on that the enemy has opened. Ask Him to give you strength to shut those doors. In Christ’s authority, speak to those doors to shut them.
(2) Dwell on God’s past greatness.
Jericho was surrounded by an embankment, a retaining wall thirteen feet tall, and behind that a second wall about twenty-three feet high and six feet wide. When the walls of Jericho fell, they fell inward. Impregnable walls became entrance ramps for the Israelites to climb up and take the city. God made a way where there was no human way. Just like He parted the Red Sea.
(3) Trust that God is still in the business of doing great things—for you.
What Jericho can’t you scale today? What Red Sea moment is immobilizing you? Name it. Place it before God. Admit you don’t have the wisdom or resources to deal with the situation. Ask God to intervene as only He can.
(4) Keep asking.
Why? God wants to see how serious you are about seeking Him with your whole heart. God wants you to keep it real with Him. He wants you to trust His way as well as His timing. (Neither will be what you expect.)
I’m at the “keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking” step (Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9). But I’m doing it with confidence because I know whose I am. I serve a great big God whose purposes can’t be thwarted. So I’m praying bold prayers. With a roar. And the rest of my life will follow suit.
Also with a roar. The way it should be.
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Music Bonus: “God’s Not Dead“