Have you ever had a bad day?
Sure, we all have.
How about a bad week?
Yep, that, too.
Good, I’m not alone. In fact, none of us are. It happens. A part of life.
This week was one of those weeks where I struggled to stay optimistic.
For lack of a better way to phrase it– I felt spiritually under attack all week.
On Sunday, the sermon focused on how Satan attacks those who are spiritual leaders; those with a vision or those about to go through a spiritual victory. As I sat in the pew, I jotted down a few notes and Scripture verses, all the while thinking that the coming week would be like every other.
That night, a friend sent me a Bible verse. Joshua 1:9. It says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged; for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9 is one of my favorites so I found the “coincidence” an encouragement to start my week. I copied the verse onto a post-it note and stuck it to my mirror.
Sometimes, a spiritual attack comes all at once. A hard hit you didn’t see coming. Other times, it comes one punch at a time. A pinch, a hit, a punch. Little by little, it makes its presence known.
This week, it came little by little. One discouragement after another. One almost-right thing at a time. One “you’re not good enough” thought at a time. One “you don’t deserve this” thought at a time. One “How can you believe in Jesus when the world is so cruel sometimes?” thought at a time. One incontrollable situation at a time. By Monday night, I thought, Here it comes… it’s only Monday and I’m done with this week.
By Thursday night, I collapsed at my desk, teary-eyed. The week had been fine– no dramatic situations had occurred– just little punches to the stomach. Little thoughts of negativity swam around my mind like fish in a sea. Little punches, however, add up to bruises, whether they come hard or not. By Thursday night, I felt spiritually, mentally, and emotionally bruised. Tattered.
Joshua 1:9 echoed through my mind as I awoke on Friday morning. I was drained. I couldn’t move. I didn’t want to get up. I didn’t have the energy to face whatever that day would bring. Quite frankly, I just didn’t have it in me to discover what that day had in store.
That’s when it hit me.
Satan wants me to feel like this.
He wants me to feel so utterly discouraged, weak, and lethargic that I won’t want to live for Jesus.
Be strong. The words echoed in my head as I got up.
And courageous. I brushed my teeth.
Do not be afraid. I packed my lunch.
Do not be discouraged. I packed my back pack.
For the LORD your God will be with you. I drove to school.
Wherever you go. I parked.
Feeling an urgent need to stay positive and reflect on the week and what God wanted to teach me, I listened to “Nothing But the Blood” and “In Christ Alone” on repeat. It was then, walking the college green, that I realized what today was.
As a youth group leader, I spend my Friday evenings with hundreds of junior and senior high school students. I help lead a small group for ninth grade girls. I love getting to know the kids who enter the doors. I look forward to it every week except this week, I realized that something big was going to happen.
Something was going to shake me. I felt like God was slowly preparing me for whatever He had in store for that night.
Fast forward to that evening. I hesitated walking through the doors. I didn’t know what was coming. I didn’t think I was ready for whatever it was.
Be strong… do not be discouraged. I entered.
I pushed the negativity away. I pushed the thoughts back so far that when the talk began an hour later, I felt okay.
“How do we know there’s a God?” the speaker began.
He continued. Verse after verse, example after example, the speaker listed the ways in which God is everywhere. “There is no random chance. Everything is strategic. Everything has a purpose.”
The words repeated in my head. Everything has a purpose.
It’s when I saw this video that I lost it. THE HEAVENS DECLARE THE GLORY OF GOD.
The HEAVENS– the oceans, the whales, the fish, the stars, the planets, the sound waves.
Watch this (it’s worth EVERY minute):
The pure impact of this video collided into me. Like a punch in the stomach, I couldn’t breathe.
Everything has a purpose. I have a purpose. YOU have a purpose.
Sometimes, we will have bad weeks.
Sometimes, our weeks will be SO BAD that by the end of it, you don’t want to face the next day.
But, “Be strong and courageous. Do NOT be afraid. Do NOT be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you WHEREVER you go.”
What a great reminder, huh?! Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes, I need that reminder. I need to be shaken out of my comfort zone. Sometimes, I need to be punched in the stomach in order to wake up, look up, and turn my eyes back to worshipping my Savior.
This past week is behind me. A new week will begin. I know that no matter WHAT happens, God doesn’t do random. Everything has a purpose. Sometimes, that purpose is unknown to us. Sometimes, discouragement overwhelms us to the brink of exhaustion; but fear not, for God is with you.
Isn’t that the best news for a Saturday?
Sunday is coming.