I whisper into the phone like some fugitive on the run, telling my daughter that I am weary, bone-tired, and discouraged. She knows the backstories, as she has lived them alongside me.
The stresses of ministry life, as a pastor’s wife, clutch my throat; the burdens have grown cumulative. We are living in chaotic days.
I am writing this in real time. Time when sleek wolves prowl and sheep bite, and few have eyes to discern what is truly at play.
My sleep, come Sundays and Wednesdays is in the wind, as melatonin has ceased to work its magic. The difficulties creep and pounce, a feral anxiety. I awaken from nightmares, breathless, gulping for air.
Spiritual attacks are terrors–dark and foreboding shadows.
How do I slay the dragons of discouragement and exhaustion, and live with joy?
I am no fan of fake-it-til-you-make-it, pretending everything is golden and sunny when it is anything but. Such a tune rings hollow in my ears. But neither do I endorse selfish moodiness, perpetually dreary and dismal, an ongoing raincloud sprinkling overhead.
Honesty + hope is all I have.
And my hope is Christ.
I write of the treasures in Bible reading so often because God’s Word has sculpted my entire life. Every time I open Scripture and partake, a padlock is opened as God moves close, speaking truth to me, verse by verse. I am forever learning something new, and this is wonderfully exciting. God’s Word is his speech, breathing and working and constantly stretching me in holiness.
Often, the shaping hurts.
These spiritual attacks, I have come to discover, are a good type of suffering. Good in that I am whisked into a dark and unsettling place; rendered helpless. My only rescue is God, and would you believe me if I told you that such fierce attacks have worked against Satan’s schemes? That my faith blossoms through trials?
Within those deep pits of darkness, when I feel most alone and desperate, God draws near, lowering his lantern and scooping me to safety.
During those pitch-black nights, upon awakening from terrifying dreams, I am not reaching for self-help books, or delightful fiction, or even good books about God. I pray hard and reach only for my Bible, desperate for God’s voice.
The Bible is my dragon slayer. I read it and reverence it and believe it and digest it and pray it, all the while seeking to obey it. As I do, the discouragement scuttles away, always undone by Light, as the narrow path is suddenly swept clear, strung with bright, glowing lanterns to guide my way.
Gentle Reader, spiritual nourishment is at your fingertips. It is yours for the taking. All of the Good Book’s pages are bursting with honesty and hope…God’s voice to us.
Yes, the Bible is a thick book. Do not despair. Stay the course, reading little by little. It is not a race to be won, but a treasure to unearth. Memorize verses. Pray your way through the Psalms with King David. Obey God’s commands. Learn to love what the Lord loves and resolutely turn from that which he hates. Imitate the saints of old, who repented and turned and trusted God. Hold fast to the beautiful and good and true words spoken by Jesus in the New Testament. Prize your Bible by wearing it out with repetition.
The time will come when your faith, if veritable, will be rocked. This is always true for the authentic child of God. Wolves will circle and snarl and snap and although you might feel alone, you are not. Such spiritual attacks are an indicator that you pose a significant threat to Satan’s pathetic kingdom. Stay tethered to God and Scripture and remember that it is the highest of honors to suffer for faith in Christ.
Who is my safety in this harsh, depraved world?
The Lion of Judah is his name.
And who may defeat this Lion?
Cling to his mane and hear him roar for you.
Monday morning, after my long walk, I pour steaming chai into my Mama mug and slip past the dining room into to my office. It is still early as I cradle the hot drink in both hands, warming the chill away. Sinking into my chair, I gaze out the tall windows and into our front yard.
The leaves have flourished overnight, a gentle canopy of shaded privacy. It is lovely, watching as the morning sun plays peek-a-boo through leaf and branch, while dancing in the gentle wind. Songbirds awaken and flit to the feeder, taking their fill, three at once: cardinal, chickadee, and house finch. They are tiny masterpieces.
Out of habit I shift the mug to one hand as my other grazes the top of our dogs’ heads, our two Goldens sitting side-by-side. Their eyes relax at my touch.
How peaceful it is now, in these still morning hours. I am tired from a poor night’s rest.
After a time, I open my Bible to John 10. God is so kind to place me in this passage, knowing that on this given Monday I require magnificent words. It had been a grim weekend, indeed.
I read the passage once, twice, three times over, and feel life trickling back into my bones. I read it yet again and now my heart leaps at the promise: I will never be snatched from God.
Slowly, the discouragement and fatigue melt away. The dragons have been slayed.
It is critical to understand that not one iota of my outer life–the hardships and ongoing stresses and pressures of ministry– has changed.
But I am changed in the secret places, flooded with fresh hope, comforted, and strengthened in the depths of my soul. God has seen fit to wrap me up in Scripture, as he speaks.
My sheep listen to My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.
~John 10:27-30 (NASB)
10 thoughts on “The Lion Will Roar”
Thank you Kristin for your encouragement to keep our hope in Jesus. Hebrews 10:24-25 (RSV) and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
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You bring tears to my eyes with this post. I SO wish I had not given in to my own selfish whims in my younger years and had regularly spent time in the word. It is still a struggle today, but God is good and slowly is doing His work in my hard heart.
Thank you for your encouragement and reminder to search for treasure where it is found.
You are a blessing to me.
I pray that you will continue to cling to God’s wonderful promises when your struggles are so real!
Praying for you. Your writings are a blessing!
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Thank you so much, Janet.💛
Thank you, Kristin, for your encouraging words in difficult times. I always look forward to your blog entries. Thinking of you and praying for peace (and sleep) for you! 💗
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Thank you for reading my blog, Melanie.🙏🏻💛
Amen: “The Bible is my dragon slayer. I read it and reverence it and believe it and digest it and pray it, all the while seeking to obey it.” 📖🐉🛡️⚔️
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So true. Takes time,prayers and patience to realize the power and potential of meditation and relaxation.