The gloves are off

** This is extremely personal. It was not written with an intent to be theological but is a declaration for my desire of victory for my family after a tragic experience threatens us.

Philippians 1:29- “…for it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ that you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake..”

Suffering is universal. Its something we all have in common. The sharp pain of living in a fallen world hits us all in a variety of ways. As we walk out our tenure on  this planet, suffering will find us. It often hits unexpectedly, sometimes it stalks us for years. The piercing agony unifies humanity. The only difference is how we handle it.

Our suffering isn’t in a vacuum, the way we respond to our plight of suffering will leave a wake of influence on those around us.

As I get ready this afternoon for my mothers visitation many things flow through the channels of my mind but one thing rings out louder than the rest.

“Satan will be sorry he ever messed with my family.”

We, through the book of Job know that God allows Satan every inch he has. He doesn’t have free reign but is on a tighter leash than we may perceive. Job 1:7 is makes that clear in the simple phrase “Satan answered the Lord…” The scene that is before us in this chapter is captivating, I find myself hanging on every word as God interrogates the fallen angel, making him accountable to the Throne…and then a twist we may not expect, God has a suggestion; Job. Why would God suggest that Satan wage war with one of his elect? Because he knew something Satan did not- Job would win. Satan thought Job was fake, “of coarse he serves you, you give him everything. But take away from him and you’ll see, he’ll turn on you just like that.” Satan was out to prove Job was a phoney. God knew otherwise. Our enemy wants to use our pain, weakness, our vulnerability for our demise. God on the other hand will only allow him to touch our lives if he knows we have the ability to come out of the other side as silver refined. God uses suffering to refine us, Satan uses it to destroy us. So, we have confidence that anytime temptation or suffering enters our midst God has set us up for victory…just like he did Job. The process is painful but temporal; the outcome is glorious and eternal ( 1 peter 1). I can’t help but imagine that as Satan turned to leave the presence of God, the Almighty smirked…for He knew Satan would be sorry he ever messed with Job. He knew Satan would retreat with his tail between his legs and Job would emerge from that heap of ruins as one tested and tried and proven true.

The Lords purpose for suffering is often mysterious. But one of the purposes  we see is displayed in the way we respond to opposition, that by our faith we would shut the mouth of Satan, who constantly goes before the Lord accusing us of having “fake faith”….one purpose is to rise from the ashes that surround us and shame Satan with our true faith. Peter referred to Satan as a lion. A lion who roars so loudly at times that it sends chills down your spine. Hebrews 11 is a testament of those who have fought the good fight of faith. As the writer describes them, he states that they “closed the mouth of lions”. That wasn’t just for Daniel…our faith was meant to shut the enemy’s mouth!

The Lord promises in Philippians 1, that everything that happens can be used to advance the gospel. That we are strengthened and given courage not only for ourselves but so that the message of Christ may be fully proclaimed. (2 tim 4:17). That’s what we are going to do…this is a pedestal for the gospel. Even this can be used for the furthering of the kingdom and I KNOW it will be. I don’t just hope, I believe it to the marrow of my bones.

There’s so much that I cannot understand about my mothers death… but one thing I know…he’ll be sorry. He will loathe the day he choose to harass my family. I stand with a solid resolve that his time is done and what he has taken Christ will redeem and use for our good and his glory.

I pulled up into McDonald’s yesterday after seeing her body for the first time…and I was mad. Mad that I had to tell my children something such young and pure minds should never have to know, mad that something so precious seemed stolen from me, mad at all the opportunities lost and memories yet to be made. But I wasn’t mad at her. I was mad at the enemy of our souls. And I made a declaration of war there and then, out loud and told him “you have messed with the wrong family…”

I know he thinks he won and probably scoffs at my threats. I’m not so naive to think that he’s done, that his tactics won’t grow in cruelty…but I know Whose on my side and I know with full assurance of faith that He will use this beyond what I can imagine. I know He will, its His way.

I’ll fight for her memory and I will fight for my children, for my niece and nephew, my grandparents, my dear aunt, my step-dad,and my sister…we’ve had enough. The gloves are off. We are taking our stand and out of this rubble something glorious will transform.

In reality she won because shes in the arms of her Savior. As far as us….The Lord will continue to fight for us because the battles not over. He WILL redeem this mess and will use us to embarrass the enemy. Here’s the best part, I know how it’ll end…we win and hes destroyed. The war has been won, the battle rages on…and I have a feeling the enemy will be sorry. This isn’t the end, he hasn’t won, not by a long shot.

I’m not much like my mother. I look like my dad and have the same interests as he does, we tend to reason the same way but one thing I know that I got from her; a strong will. That’s why so often we didn’t see eye to eye…we both were set and determined once we got an idea in our head. So, today isn’t the first day I have felt that strong resolve deep within- but this time it is different. This time that will goes beyond myself and aligns itself with the will of God the Father. And there is no power of hell that can thwart that.