What keeps a person, who finds themselves in the darkness of a trial, from finding the light needed to escape the trial? Why is it that often they find themselves spiraling downward as one trial after another bears down upon them–draining them of any hope of rescue?
As Christians we know that trials are a part of life. No one can escape them! Yet, when they happen to us we are tempted to think God is against us, that He doesn’t care that we are struggling or hurting, that God has forgotten us, that we don’t deserve what has happened to us and we wander around in our negativity confused and unable to come to terms with the trial.
Sometimes we become so focused on the trial that like Peter we begin to sink in it (Matthew 14:22-33). Hope gives way to despair and we ask ourselves, “Where are you God?” And if we don’t get the answer we desire, we begin to pull away from God. Slowly our faith is drained away, leaving us in an anemic spiritual state, unable to believe we matter to God.
My heart breaks for individuals who find themselves in such a state. For I know that in this weakened state, we are particularly vulnerable to negative thinking (fiery darts). Satan takes advantage of our loss of focus and attitudes are formed which lead to actions of destruction.
Chapter Three of Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice explains:
What we think determines how we feel and what we feel influences our actions. A negative action is often the result of negative thinking. Understandably, if Satan can negatively influence our thinking then temptations to act negatively will be harder for us to resist. p. 15, FD
The psychologist will say that if behavior is to be changed, then the flow must be interrupted either at the thought or feeling point.p.16, FD
Look to the Light of God’s Word for therein lies your Hope!
First we must recognize the temptation to think negatively for the fiery dart that it is. Keeping in mind that Satan’s plan is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10a) the abundant life God has planned for you (John 10:10b).
For you see, those very trials that are an inevitable part of life, if responded to as God planned, have the potential to provide a greater strength and a deeper joy than we had prior to the trial.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:1-4
We will find our hope and our direction as we search the Scriptures for Truth thoughts that address our trial. Perhaps, discovering that the source of our weakness was in neglecting time with God in prayer and absorbing the counsel of His Word. (the Source of our strength)
In the past, long before I had learned about waging a successful war regarding fiery darts, I was in bondage to some pretty devastating thoughts. One in particular was the idea that if I failed in a particular area of my life that would automatically spill over into all other areas of my life and inflict damage on them as well. The unfortunate thing regarding these lessons on fiery darts that have now secured my freedom, is that way back then I was clueless about how the fiery darts were messing with my mind and ensuring my extended bondage. That’s the bad news, but the good news is
In looking back on my journey, I have wondered at times why it took me so long to recognize the path out of the darkness of negative thinking that God had illuminated for me. . . . My hope then is that by my sharing what I have learned on my journey out of the darkness of negative thinking, you will be able to recognize much sooner than I did your own path out of the darkness that God has illuminated for you. (pg. 3, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice)
Therefore, if you will permit me, I would like to encourage your heart with a Truth God has often sustained me with.
Isaiah 43:18 “Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old. 19 Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.
Just because you have experienced failure in the past, that doesn’t mean that because of that particular failure, you are doomed to fail or at least not measure up in all areas of your life. I carried that burden of a lie for more years than I care to remember. Only by God’s grace and what He taught me concerning fiery darts have I been set free.
You have only to research some of the Greats of Scripture to see what God thinks of failure. Look at David, in spite of his serious failures, the Bible calls him, “a man after God’s own heart”. How is that possible after what he did–murder and adultery to name only two? I think I’ve discovered something here. The righteousness of David had it’s source in God. Read what Paul said about that kind of righteousness:
And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. Philippians 3:9
Ok, we confess our failure to God and ask His forgiveness, then we move on with our lives and by His grace break free of the bondage that the knowledge of our failure has the capability to place us in. As a Christian we have a very unique course set for us as we deal with the failures in our lives. First of all, we don’t allow one failure in our lives to convince us that we are a failure at life! That’s a big huge ole fiery dart. It’s nothing but a lie. Aren’t you glad that the Bible greats didn’t fall for that?
Trials have the potential to highlight areas in our lives that when responded to appropriately can increase our faith and produce endurance. Take a look at James 1:
2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, 3 knowing that the testing o your faith produces endurance. 4 But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
How you deal with your crisis, what you learn from your crisis will all work together to reestablish your credibility. (Rom. 8:28) Others may come against you (these are instruments of fiery darts remember) but if in your own mind you have come to the successful and healing conclusion that God can still use you, then you’ll know how to put up your shield of faith and ward off those fiery dart minions!
So go ahead and rejoice with God in those areas where you don’t feel like a total failure. Be thankful for them and praise God for them. Don’t allow the fiery dart that says you’d be a hypocrite to think you could still be used of God when you have failed Him so miserably. There are some areas in your life that you have gotten right so know that you have a valid testimony in that area.
Look again at the phrase, ‘a way in the wilderness’. You have two choices to make. You can choose to focus on the wilderness or you can focus on ‘the way’. You could choose to focus on the negatives if you like, but be prepared a cloud of negativism will become your constant companion. On the other hand, you could choose to focus on God’s faithfulness to lead you out of the wilderness. You can choose to focus on the good He brought out of that wilderness experiences, how He strengthened you. And I’ve got a sweet thought for you, if you focus on how God brought you out of the wilderness.
The more you focus on the good, the more good you’ll notice AND the better you are going to feel. The more hopeful you’ll become. Goodbye, despair; for hope and despair don’t share the same space.
Gotta a verse for you:
Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.