At the very heart of every struggle and problem we find ourselves in, God is there with us. It can be mountainously hard to feel him, to hear his voice calming us. Our God is always at our side. There is a quote often seen on social media that says “Sometimes God calms the storm, and sometimes he calms his child throughout the storm”. We don’t always recognize his hand on our shoulder when we are caught up in our worldly problems.
I found myself in this situation recently, being stubborn and handling the problems my way. Health issues, time struggles, financial burdens all surrounded my family. But rather than turning to God to take them all on, I sat myself down to budget more tightly. My husband and I talked about his health struggles for a week before we spoke with our pastor. Our small group from church that has become like family had no idea we were struggling so much so that we now need to move to get back on our feet and develop a savings again. Why did we not reach out and rely on the provisions God has given us?
For weeks upon weeks I felt drained, as though we literally stood in the middle of a storm whose winds were wearing me down to nothing. My routine bible study and journaling time came to a halt, and prayers no longer resembled the loving conversations with God on my ride home from work. I was struggling to exist, as was my husband. Then we had an afternoon together where all way calm before the final blow came in form of a medical bill. We both came to a halt and realized several things had to change if we were going to make it out with our life intact.
I hit my knees that afternoon and spoke with God for a long time about my guilt for slipping away. He is always with us, but we have to put work into the relationship for it to be strong. The enemy wants nothing more than to distract us with worldly issues long enough to pull us away from God. For a short time the enemy was winning the battle. But now I believe God took major action, possibly in the form of a giant that resembles a hospital bill, to pull us back to him. Everything from our spiritual lives to our living arrangements to our marriage bed was rocked, and now we have calm around us.
God laid a peace on my heart once I pulled my head out of the storm and focused on him. Now, as I look back, it is scary how we slipped into the chaos of the world that the enemy taunts with. We had a million excuses as to why life was becoming so hard, but now we know life is perfectly fine with God guiding us. No things aren’t easy or how we had hoped they would be at this time. But we are in God’s grace, covered by him, and allowing for guidance along the journey already written for us.
The enemy used the worldly responsibilities we shoulder to distract us, leading us further away from Jesus. If we hadn’t been having difficulties, if we had been focusing on the things we desire out of life, there still would have been a storm to distract us. The gut-wrenching longing to be somewhere traveling that I sometimes feel is another distraction that I now recognize as the enemy taking a passion I have and turning against me to pull me away from my heavenly Father. It is not wrong of me to look forward to our next adventure. Once it steals my joy in what I currently have and distracts frequently from what is present, then it is a weapon being wielded against my relationship with God.
So, what is it that the enemy can use against you to pull your focus away from God? It is easy to think that because we are in the Word and relying on God to guide us that we can’t be touched. But we live in a world that is not our home, where anything that can impact our lives is exposed to the enemy. Protection only comes from our Father who never leaves our side. When we are attacked it is crucial to recognize our problems for what they truly are-works of the enemy to drag us away.
We can take heart that our God never leaves us, never gives up, and always loves us. In him we are safe, secure, and forever His children.