Tag Archives: Satan

The Dark Night of Pain ~ A Painful Saga, Part 3

I Shall AriseNerve pain is dark.  It encompasses one’s every thought.  Leading up to and during the recovery of my back surgeries, the pain was ‘out in front of my thinking.’  What I mean by this is that there was rarely a moment that the pain did not consume my every waking moment or steal my sleep.  There was never any position of comfort; no escaping its blowtorch agony.

On three horrific occasions, the pain reached a level that it felt as though my sciatic nerve tore from my spinal cord, in a way resembling someone sawing off my leg.  I only wish that I were exaggerating.

During each of those episodes, which lasted several hours, I felt certain that I would not survive.  Yet, in the midst of these unexplainable pain events, God’s presence was stronger than I had ever known possible.

During one of them, the enemy devised a cruel plot to convince me that a loving God would not put one of His children through such pain.  In my weakest moment, he tempted me to question my salvation.  Frail from suffering, I almost yielded to Satan’s lie, but not without much emotional distress.

Crying out to God, I told Him that if the enemy were right, that I had never known salvation, then I would rather not live anyway.  Although my physical pain was immense, the devil’s hurtful lie was more so.  What he did not realize was that his deceitful attempt to harm, God used for good.

When faced with even a remote possibility that my faith was not real, I knew with certainty that if not a child of God’s, life had no meaning at all.  In that cruel moment, when scraped to the core physically and emotionally, I discovered that God meant more to me than anything, even life itself.

I remember so vividly the tenderness with which God reached out to me right then.  The certainty of His love for me washed over me, as gently as a stream pours over polished stones.  I may not understand the why of my suffering, but I will never again allow the enemy to tempt me as to whether I belong to God.

After the surgeries, progression with my lower back was slow, but steady.  Thankfully, the sciatic pain, which had been at the front of my thinking, is most of the time so far to the back that there are times where I must pause to check that it is even still there.  The intense darkness of pain now replaced with God’s healing light.  God is good!

Although I will never return to those earlier strong years, and must now use judgment with physical activities, I am able to work again as a nurse and can zoom on my treadmill.

To finish the discussion of my physical pain journey, I will share next about lessons that I learned, and of how God is sustaining my health, despite problems now with my neck.  It is a story of how He continues getting me through. 

Bear with me, my wonderful readers.  I promise tomorrow’s post is uplifting and not all this dreariness!

*I know that many of you have had or are currently enduring pain.  I would love to hear your story, too, so that we can support each other.

For more of this story, see A Painful Saga

Beauty Amid Ruin ~ Satan’s Attempts to Destroy

Photo from my Little Gem Magnolia tree

Photo from my Little Gem Magnolia tree

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness
Isaiah 61:3

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about God’s gradual work of perfecting us into His beautiful image, a process which will not be completely finished until we reach heaven.  In my photos from Progression to Beauty, I illustrated this sanctification process by showing the gradual opening of a Magnolia flower to its marvelous beauty.  What I intentionally withheld was a picture of what happens to that same flower a few days later.

The beauty of a magnolia flower seems ruined

The beauty of a magnolia flower seems ruined

As God is working this sanctification in us, Satan is right along side trying to destroy anything beautiful in our lives.  His mission is one of opposition to God; hence, he is always on the lookout for anything good that he can attempt to ruin.  He cleverly deceives many into thinking that their is no hope of recovering any beauty amid the ruined circumstances life often brings.  Creation itself groans under the curse of sin’s ruin.

Some of you may feel that way.  You may think that because of past sins, or failed attempts to serve God that your life is beyond repair.  Convinced that you have gone too far, you think that your life can never again be restored to beauty. 

Yet, amid the very ruin itself are the seeds of new life.

Next years seed pod

Next years seed pod

God knew in advance that Satan would attempt to thwart His creation.  As a result, He provided the way back to beauty by sending Jesus to die in place of our sin.  You might ask, though, how is the cross a thing of beauty?

When Christ died on the cross, the enemy thought that he had won, but buried inside the tomb was the Seed of resurrection, simply awaiting His designated time to come forth.  With victorious glory, Jesus arose, giving hope to all that God’s intended beauty can indeed be restored.  Nobody has strayed too far that His love cannot reach.  No attempts by Satan can destroy God’s promised work of beauty in our lives.  God can bring back to life to any ruined one.  It is our choice whether or not we will accept what He has already done on our behalf to restore that beautiful new life. 

Are you tempted, like I sometimes am, to lose hope that God will restore to beauty someone or something that seems ruined beyond repair?

Let us together remember that God can and will bring forth beauty from ashes.  He is in the beauty business!

From His Heart for blogFor other similar posts, see From His Heart

Unbroken Link

Broken link

“The wicked have drawn the sword and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, to slay those who are of upright conduct.”
Psalm 37:14

Surfing the Web for information has enormous benefits on a variety of levels, from hunting for medical facts to searching for the cheapest price on a desired product. Nothing can match the convenience of shopping from home or researching at the click of a finger. Nothing can compare until something goes wrong, and the same technology on which you depend, fails to respond adequately. Such is the case with broken Internet links.

Broken link label
Apparently, there is even a term for these malfunctions – Link rot. What a hilarious term! It sounds like a disease. Link rot typically occurs because a website is defunct and the link no longer works; hence, it is a dead link. Link rot primarily presents as a 404 error, an indication that the web page could not be found. Most online users have discovered these error pages before, some more often than they would like. They have experienced Link rot firsthand! The phrase may be humorous but when trying to find a website and discover instead that the link is broken (or rotten, shall we say?), it is not a laughing matter. It is annoying.

Website glitches are bothersome but are just examples of those little foxes that we can allow to steal our peace. Satan, although not necessarily behind broken online links, has a sinister, ongoing plan to disrupt our lives. He wants to disrupt our connection with God – permanently, and to break us apart -completely. The devil wants our lives to resemble a broken link.

The Psalmist had his fair share of demonic-driven attempts to break him. David was God’s pick as king yet confronted resistance from his siblings and attacks against his life from Saul. Since the True King was of David’s lineage, Satan waged all out war against him from the moment of his royal decree. The enemy drew the sword and bent the bow to slay one such as David. Though not successful, Satan wanted to break this kingly line and to destroy him in the process.

None of us will ever be David, the only person God called a man after His own heart. God does love us as much, but there will never be anyone quite like the Psalmist. Besides God’s love, we share in common with David the fact that Satan wants us broken equally as much. We also share in David’s emotions, despite which God’s opinion of him remained unaltered. As such, since he was that man after God’s heart, David was a person who had a heart. The dreadful experiences he faced were not pleasant, and he experienced the full range of human emotions possible. In David, then, we see ourselves whenever we come under attack by our common foe. We can comfort ourselves knowing that, just as for David, God understands our hurts as we struggle against an enemy who wants us broken.

Broken stem
At times in our lives, Satan succeeds by temporarily breaking us. Although I have never had my life threatened, I have nonetheless experienced struggles, hurts, turmoil and devastation to the brink of breaking my spirit and crushing my hope. It is during those dark moments that Satan has tried to convince me that God does not care and to embrace his lies instead. He has tried to break off my connection with the Lord much like when an orchid stem snaps, severing all nourishment and hope of survival. Unlike David, I have not encountered life-threatening circumstances, but very much like him have had the Devil attempt to break apart my lifeline to God and to destroy His purposes for my life.

My broken orchid stem

My broken orchid stem

During his ordeal, Job reached that place of brokenness. God knew that Job was a man with faith and trusted him enough to allow Satan to prove it. At the end of his testing, Job came forth just as God had predicted, but along the way bottomed out emotionally. He reached periods of succumbing temporarily to the enemy’s plans to break his connection with God:

“My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.”
Job 17:11

Though he did periodically sink emotionally, Job came through his fiery trials stronger than before. God turned it all around for good.

Unbroken promise label
Believers have that same promise of good. Bottom line? The Devil is not going to win. He does buffet us, beset us, tempt us and annoy us. He attacks us, distracts us, alarms us and tries very hard to destroy us. However, he will never fully succeed in breaking our link to Jesus. We are ‘struck down‘ but never destroyed. Christ made sure of that by His victory over Satan. In the same passage above in Psalm 37, David offers these encouraging words about our enemy’s predicted end:

“Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb….For evildoers shall be cut off…”
Psalm 37:1, 2, 9

Orchids of unbroken beauty

Orchids with unbroken beauty

Broken online links do severe one’s ability to access a webpage. Such sites are no longer available, and their connections are Link rotting dead! Satan is convinced that he can break our link to God and destroy His plans for our lives. He is only deceiving himself by believing this. His end is certain. Like dead links rot in cyberspace, the Devil will some day rot somewhere, too! He will be the one cut off, not us. Our connection cannot be broken. We instead flourish like a beautiful orchid flower, which stays grafted to a life-giving stem. Grafted to a King, ours is a link that will never be broken.

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