Don’t allow the evil one to forge a weapon from your past to use in his attempt to rob you of your future.
“…no weapon forged against you will prevail… You will show that those who speak against you are wrong. These are the good things my servants receive. Their victory comes from me,” says the Lord. Isaiah 54:17
In December of 2008 I received a phone call from my doctor while I was at work. He was calling with the results of a biopsy and his words struck me like a physical blow. I had gone to my dermatologist the previous week to ask his opinion about a very small mole on my leg, believing that it wasn’t anything to be worried about, but obeying the voice inside that kept telling me to go to the doctor to have it looked at. When my dermatologist saw it he agreed, saying that it didn’t appear to be anything to be concerned about, but because it was a bit dark, he wanted to remove it. It’s routine to have biopsies performed, so I thought nothing of it until I got his call a week later. His voice was very solemn as he relayed to me the results of the biopsy: a fairly deep malignant melanoma. Immediately my heart began beating rapidly and I felt an old enemy begin to gather his arsenal for the coming assault. The enemy was fear.
I made an appointment with the surgeon that my dermatologist had recommended, feeling like I was on auto-pilot. The surgeon seemed to think he could remove all of the malignant tissue and didn’t believe that it had spread to my lymph nodes, but because the cancer was fairly deep, he wanted to remove one or more of the nodes to rule out the possibility that it had spread. If the cancer had progressed to my lymph nodes, I had a very long and precarious road ahead of me.
I believe that anyone faced with this news would have been fearful. It was a very normal reaction but what made it crippling for me was the fact that we lost our daughter, Jessica, years earlier to a brain tumor. I had lived through all of this before; I sat in the pediatrician’s office, the neurologist’s office, the neuro-surgeon’s office, hearing our worst fears confirmed. I had heard and experienced the “worst case scenario” and all of that rushed back like a flood when I heard my own diagnosis, and the wave of fear threatened to pull me under.
I was scheduled to have the surgery two days before Christmas. The process of waiting two weeks for the surgery was torturous, emotionally, physically and spiritually. I continued with my job and caring for my family but there was a cloud of fear and dread that continually loomed over me. My mind was going places that it hadn’t been instructed to go. I had already experienced the un-thinkable and had lost a daughter to cancer, so it wasn’t a very long trip down a similar road that my mind wandered, as I contemplated my future. It was as if I had already resigned myself to a negative outcome. I began losing weight and was filled with a sense of hopelessness. I was also supposed to be planning a trip to Germany with two friends, scheduled for the month of February. Our sons were attending Bible School there and my friends and I were going to visit them, then travel with them to Northern Ireland. I had been so looking forward to this trip, but in light of my surgery, recovery, and prognosis, I was reconciled to having to cancel the trip even though my surgeon had said it would be alright to go. I felt like giving up before we even knew what the battle was going to look like.
I remember doing my devotions one morning, a week before my surgery, dutifully opening my bible and my devotional, completely unprepared for the message that struck me right between my eyes and pierced through the wall of fear that had begun to imprison me. My devotional book, My Utmost For His Highest, referenced putting on the armor of God from Ephesians 6:13.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand…. (Ephesians 6:13)
The devotional also spoke of not giving up. It read, “We should not be spineless and automatically say, “Yes, it is the Lord’s will. We don’t have to fight or wrestle with God, but we must wrestle before God with things. Beware of lazily giving up. Instead put up a glorious fight and you will find yourself empowered with His strength!” Needless to say, after reading this, I called my friends and told them it was time that we booked our tickets for the trip. By cancelling the trip, I would be giving up and I was no quitter!
Satan was mounting an assault on my mind; using the past and what had happened with my daughter as a weapon to make me fearful that it would be my future as well. I had unwittingly allowed the evil one to place me under a death sentence that he had no authority to pronounce. That day in December when I determined to go ahead and take my trip to Germany was a victory, but it was just the first battle of a war that I believe was being waged against me. Being afraid was normal and understandable in my situation, but the crippling fear that I experienced then, and even since then, is something else altogether. We may have moments of fear but the onslaught of debilitating fear and hopelessness must be attacked head on with the word of God, faith, and the fervent prayers of faithful warriors who can stand in the gap for us when we feel too weak to keep fighting.
I experienced then, and many times since then, how the evil one will try to use the past: illness, losses, failures, rejection, betrayal, un-forgiveness, self-condemnation and sin-patterns, to forge a weapon to be used against me in an attempt to rob me of the future. I believe these are some of the flaming arrows spoken about in Ephesians 6:16. My defense is also found in Ephesians 6.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:16-18)
Future joy, peace, and God’s plan for my life are the goods that Satan desires to steal from me. We are not guaranteed a specific outcome from our earthly trials except that God promises His continual presence, peace and grace to overcome as victors with Him. It is strange that I had experienced that exceptional peace and undeniable grace while I travelled our journey with Jessica, but when faced with my cancer years later, all I remembered initially, was the fear. We are assured of the eternal outcome of our battles here on earth. When we entrust our lives to Christ, He promises us that He is in heaven preparing a special place for us where there is no sadness, sickness or death; a place where we will enjoy His presence forever.
Jesus said to his disciples, “Don’t be worried! Have faith in God and have faith in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house. I wouldn’t tell you this, unless it was true. I am going there to prepare a place for each of you. After I have done this, I will come back and take you with me. Then we will be together.” (John 14:1-3)
He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever. (Revelation 21:4)
The morning of December 23rd finally arrived and I was nervous but so relieved that my surgery would soon be over. My husband Larry, my stable, calm, rock was with me the entire time up until I went into the operating room. I remember the picture God gave me right before I went in.
The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
I felt such peace in God’s presence. It was one of those experiences where you almost feel like an observer, watching the events unfold before you. (No, I hadn’t been given any medication yet) I physically felt God’s presence hovering over me, filling me with such peace and a sense of His love.
I had to wait 10 days to get the results of the biopsy to find out if the cancer had spread. I have to say, they seemed like some of the longest days of my life. I found out that the cancer had not spread which meant no radiation or chemotherapy, but I would have very regular blood tests, X-rays and skin checks for a number of years. I was filled with thankfulness, but like all cancer survivors, life is never quite the same, not necessarily bad in my case, but with a greater awareness of the fragility of my life.
Since that time, I have learned to identify when the evil one is mounting an assault on my mind: trying to use the past to rob me of the future that God has planned for me. I’ve had to relinquish un-forgiveness, hurt, self-condemnation, bad habits, failure, and my old nemesis, fear. I don’t want to give satan anything to use to forge a weapon against me. Instead, I want to use the weapons that God has given me to thwart the forces that would attempt to steal my future.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)
I’m not sure where my journey will take me but I know that God wants my travelling companions to be His joy, peace, and love. I need to daily prepare for the journey, putting on the armor of God and using the shield of faith to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one and taking the sword of the Spirit, arming myself with His Word, and bathing the entire day in a blanket of prayer. I am a fellow-victor in a battle that Christ has already won.
A precious memory of my Jessica inspires me still today. She was getting ready to be taken in for an MRI (which was a scary thing for her) and right before they wheeled her in she sat up on the gurney, held her clenched hand up in the air like she was holding something, and said, “See Mom, I’ve got my shield of faith right here with me!”
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. (2 Corinthians 2:14)
■Release your past into God’s care, knowing that His desire is to heal, forgive, restore, refresh, and redeem all you have lost.
■Put on the armor of God and arm yourself with the weapons of faith, the Word and prayer.
■Refuse to give the evil one a foothold as you lock shields with fellow warriors in prayer.
■Remember that satan has already been defeated and that we are the victors with Christ.
But in all these things we are completely victorious through God who showed His love for us. (Romans 8:37)
Whom Shall I Fear – Chris Tomlin http://youtu.be/qOkImV2cJDg