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Battle of Oppression

Sunday morning was an exciting morning for me.  I was anxious to get to church.  Today was an exceptionally good day though.  Today was the day that we were finally going to be able to give back to our Lord.  He had been so good to us and it was a blessing to be able to show our appreciation by giving back to Him on a faith promise we had made two years earlier.  We had struggled to pay a little of bit of it here and there but today…well, did I say I was excited? 

The service began just as mom and I walked in and because I was sick with the remnants of a cold, we sat in the back.  The music was uplifting—not that I needed to be uplifted today—and I could not wait to make my offering and thankfulness to God. 

Finally, it was time to give and I joyously walked up the aisle and placed two envelopes in the plate—one had my weekly tithe while the other carried the ‘Faith Promise’.  Joy overcame me—and maybe even a little bit of pride—as I walked back to my seat, thanking God for the ability to make at least a small dent in my commitment.  Our pastor then prayed over the offering and worship began.

At our church our Pastor invites anyone wanting to come down front to the altar to worship the ability to do so.  I really like that.  So as usual I walked up to the front.  Not to be showy but as a sacrifice of praise and worship to my heavenly Father.  

Ok so, me I like to worship.  I may not always sing on key but God—and thankfully so—hears my heart.  Today, I was especially ‘high’ on God.  I mean I am high on God everyday but today I was on cloud nine.  Or so I thought.

As I began to worship, I became overwhelmed with emotion and not is a good way.  I was singing and worshipping but at some point I felt as though my words were just words that had no meaning to God.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a believer in our Lord and have been a Christian for a long time.  I was not doubting my salvation or my faith, but somehow I felt as if God had turned His back on me.  Not like He wasn’t hearing me, but like He wasn’t seeing me.  Like He could not look at me.  

I began saying all the scriptures that I could think of.  I asked Him to show me if any sin was keeping me from Him.  I begged Him to look me; to see me.  I asked for forgivness for anything that might have separated me from Him.  I wept and the anguish in me was so deep I could hardly breathe.  I prayed in the Holy Spirit.  Still, my eyes flooded with tears that leaked out from my eyes and streamed down my face.  The only word I know to use to describe how I felt is anguish and it was overpowering me.

Our Pastor—under the direction of the Spirit—called up the elders to pray with anyone needing prayer.  I stepped forward without really understanding why.  I did not feel like I needed prayer yet I so painfully desired someone to lay hands on me and take this heart-wrenching feeling from me.  I had no idea what was happening all I know is I did not like it and the tears would not stop.  I was in despair and I had no idea why.

After the worship we were asked to take our seats and I wept all the way back to my seat.  I could not stop it.  It was as if I were cut off from God and it was a horrible feeling.  I quickly grabbed my things and whispered to my mother, “I need to go right now!” and ran out for fear of disturbing the service with my uncontrollable sobbing.  Once outside, I leaned up against a concrete column and allowed the anguish to be released.  I sobbed heavily and the groaning's were coming from somewhere deep inside me.  The despair was again overtaking me.  I got into the car—mom in tow—and sat with my head resting against the steering wheel trying to grasp what was going on with me.

Several minutes passed before I was able to get a little bit of self control so I started the car and began heading for home.  I told mom I did not understand what was going on.  I told her I had never felt so forsaken in my walk with God.  I almost did not want to speak the words because it was like blasphemy on my lips but I settled down and we decided to go get a bite to eat thinking it might help me calm down.  It did not.  I should have gone straight home and into prayer but instead in my anger and confusion, I had a terrible meal and perhaps made a spectacle of myself.  It was awful.  I knew what I was feeling but I could not put it into cohesive words.

Once home I called my husband—who is working in DC at the moment—and tried to explain it to him.  He did not understand but prayed for God to give him the words that I needed to hear.  He led me to the book of James.  Long story short, I promised him I would read the book and hung up.  Then, got out my Bible and began reading in James.  Truth be told, I just skipped through it but parts jumped out and I began praying over what I thought the Lord was showing me. 

As I prayed and cried out to God with many questions and quoting His word—all the familiar one’s we know and love like: “I will never leave you or forsake you.”  “God works all things together for our good…”, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.”  --vocally saying these out-loud to Him all the while questioning why He turned His back to me—I could feel a battle raging all around me.  In that same moment, and it absolutely had to be the Holy Spirit, I realized this struggle waging war inside me was not one of flesh and blood but “against powers and principalities in the heavenly realm”. 

The Holy Spirit brought to mind Ephesians 6: 10 – 20.  These were the scripture verses a previous pastor from five years ago—Pastor Joel Anderson—challenged his entire congregation to remember and my husband and I took the challenge.  We had one month.  It was hard at our age—60 and 49 respectively—but we did it…and Praise God we did because these verses are etched in our hearts and minds. Today, the Holy Spirit brought them deep into my soul when He made me realize and assured me God had not turned away from me.  The Holy Spirit reminded me where this battle was taking place.  The enemy—who is a liar—oppressed me with his lies and had placed such a heavy yoke around my neck that the weight of it cause me to stumble.    

As I write this, I ask myself, “Why did I not realize it right when it was happening?” 

Can I just tell you I have NEVER in my Christian walk gone into a battle like this!  It was frightening.  It was hard.  It was exhausting.  But that was because it took me a while to realize what was going on.  I truly was utterly confused.  I was not blaming God for anything but I was begging Him to see me.  I honestly sensed as if He could not see me.  That He did not want to see me. I was in total despair. 

God, however, had prepared me for this battle five years before and through His love, and the Holy Spirit who resides within me, He reminded me where the battle was taking place. 

The battle was not in my heart. My heart was pure and I was not without hope and the salvation of Jesus Christ.  That was never a question.  It was not in my head.  My head was filled with His holy Word through the study of Scripture and daily prayer.   This battle was in the heavenly realm…Eph. 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places,”

Once I realized this and prayed the scripture I began rebuking the enemy and his demons…and thank God also for Deuteronomy 28:27, “The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways…”   because this was one of my shields--- it did not take long for that terrible, overwhelming and despairing battle to end.  Praise be to God!

I tell the women I am so blessed to share God’s Word with that we must ‘hide His Word in our hearts…” not only to shield us from sin but it is His Word that fills our quiver.  It is our weapon.  It is His Word that causes the enemy to flee.  Why do you think Jesus used it in His struggle in the desert?

Always loving our Lord,

Lori Robbins 

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