I love it when God takes a common theme and weaves it into studies, songs, sermons, and even conversations. It's like He's saying, "Dana, this is important, so I don't want you to miss it." Repetition aids learning, right? This common-theme teaching happened over the weekend, and now, I want to share that message with you because I have a feeling there's someone out there who needs to hear it right now.
Satan is a liar. We know that. But what we don't often realize is how quickly and quietly he can sneak into our lives and how many lies he can spout off before we even realize he's there. I discovered this on Saturday after a major disappointment. Something Jason and I had been looking forward to fell apart, and while the outcome wasn't horrible, it wasn't what we expected. But the worst part was the reason it fell apart, believe it or not, was because we are good, honest people doing our best to live upright and do right by others and sacrificing worldly gain to follow a Godly calling. And for that, we were penalized.
It hurt. It was so discouraging. And as I fought back the tears, the lies of Satan began to surface. "See, it's not worth it. You're just wasting your time serving God. Look, He's not taking care of you. You live right, and you're punished for it, so I say, don't live right. Live how you want to. Do what you want. The world does, and look how much better off they are than you. Throw in the towel. It's not worth your time!"
Before I even recognized the thoughts for what they were, I was nodding my head in agreement. But suddenly, praise the Lord, the Holy Spirit interceded with his still, small voice. "Don't listen to those lies, child. You know the truth. You know how much I love you and that I have always seen you through. Don't worry about what the world is doing, for there will be a day when they will answer for their choices. And, while it may seem they're better off because they have money in the bank and nice cars in the garage, they don't have what really matters--a solid relationship with me. Dear one, you are so much richer than you'll ever know this side of heaven. Just trust me, and keep walking the right road. Your efforts will pay off and you will be rewarded for your faithfulness."
When I shared this story with my ladies' Sunday School class, I discovered I wasn't the only one who had battled Satan's lies that weekend. And ironically, Sunday evening, I crossed paths with two other people who were discussing the same frustrating thoughts--both of them played vital roles in the ministry of sharing the gospel. The first spoke of problems faced and difficult decisions made as he shook his head in discouragement. My heart went out to him because I knew exactly what he was going through. The second declared, "Yes, ministering to people has its ups and downs, and there are times when you don't even want to do it. You just don't feel like it. But you do it anyway because it's what you're supposed to do." Honestly, his statement rang true with me as well, but I was concerned that if we didn't change the subject (or at least the perspective), the three of us were going to find ourselves in a deep pit of despair. But, then the second man spoke up again. "But when you see that soul saved or that life changed, it makes it all worthwhile. It's like a factory reset, and suddenly, everything makes sense again."
Here's where this story gets downright spooky. That man had just finished singing with a group at a concert Jason and I attended Sunday night. While God had spoken to me Saturday and helped me deflect Satan's lies and had encouraged me again Sunday morning as I taught Sunday School and enjoyed the morning worship service, there was still a part of me stuck in that gap between God's truth and Satan's lies. But as I listened to God's Word in song that night, that "factory reset" took place and suddenly everything made sense again. I was one of those lives that was changed because God had used that ministry and those three singers to remind me of the truth I already knew but was afraid to cling to: God can be trusted!
As Jason and the singer continued to pack up the group's equipment, I continued the conversation with the other man, who still seemed very discouraged. As he poured his heart out to me (a total stranger), he told me he had been battling lies from Satan, and when he voiced those lies, my jaw dropped. It was the exact same speech Satan had given me Saturday morning, and I told the man as much. Then, for the next several minutes, I was able to share with him the truths of God's Word that I had shared with my ladies' Sunday School class. As we talked, he visibly relaxed, and by the time I left, he actually had a smile on his face.
I can't help but marvel how the entire situation came full circle. All three of us were battling the same demons, yet God still used us to encourage one another by sharing the comfort we had received. You know what that tells me? God's Word will not return void. Even the discouraged can be an encouragement to others because the truth of God never changes. No matter our mood, God's promises are true. And He is watching out for His children, sending them comfort and encouragement when they need it most.
How does this apply to you? First off, no matter what you're going through, I pray you will cling to God's promises and ignore Satan's lies. Secondly, when God gives you comfort and encouragement, I pray you will pass it on to someone else who may be going through a similar situation. Comfort is meant to be shared. If God blesses you through a song, sermon, devotion, quote, Bible verse, or whatever, I hope you'll take the time and effort to share that blessing with someone around you. After all, everyone is going through something! Don't break the circle of comfort.