It has been a long week.
And not an easy one….
Stress at work, stress in relationships, no time to regroup. Mentally, emotionally and spiritually exhausted. And by Saturday morning I was physically exhausted as well. The aches and pains in my body sent that message. And then to top it off by early Saturday morning I had developed a severe case of hiccups. This may not sound like a big deal but if you have ever had them it is not painful just annoying. And if you happen to be leading a Bible study (as I was early that morning) or in a vocation where talking is a big part of what you do, it can be at the least distracting and somewhat embarrassing.
Really the hiccups as insignificant as that might sound were the last straw piled on top of everything else that it occurred during the week. By Saturday evening in the middle of another extremely busy night at work I was just done.
The thoughts of how done I was came hard and fast “this is just too much, there’s just too much stress in your life, you can’t live like this you’re going to cause yourself to have a heart attack, I’ve got to get away from this, I can’t do his anymore”.
But in the storm of thoughts going on in my head I remembered a comment made by one of my brothers at the Bible study earlier in the day.
He said “sometimes we forget about the warfare that we are told us about in Ephesians 6 and how much that warfare has to do with events in our everyday life.”
It occurred to me that much of what had been going on all week right up to that moment had a lot to do with that unseen warfare.
And then I heard “Praise me in the storm”.
I have heard many sermons and teachings about how important praise in the midst of battle is. I’ve read the scriptures that verify this. But the truth is in that moment, that was the last thing I wanted to do. Because up until that moment I had failed to recognize what was really going on. It wasn’t the job, or the relationships or the physical aches and pains or the many other things going on, that was the primary source of my struggles, it was the attack designed to steal my joy, my peace and ultimately my weapons designed to enable me to effectively wage warfare victoriously in the battle I and all of us face every day. Ironically what the enemy wanted me to focus on as the source of my problems are the very things God intends to be a blessing to my life. And He has also charged me to serve and protect those blessings. My family, my job, my friends….
If I am not aware of the battle I am in, not focused on the perpetrator of the trouble, I cannot wage war effectively against him. Sometimes this begins by getting a hold of myself, and praising Him. Stopping to remember He is my shield, my strength, my shelter, my portion, my deliverer, my strong tower, my very present help in time of need.
His house is my shelter and
It is there I find peace in
the midst of the storm and turmoil
Psalm 27:5 (thanks Jack)
Through the prompting of the Holy Spirit I stopped in that moment Saturday night and began to do just that.
Praising Him for all He has done and for His ability to take me through the tough times.
It changed my night, it can change my life.
I am happy to report by Sunday morning the hiccups were gone, I was still tired, but I felt a difference in my heart, in my Spirit. Lesson learned. And hopefully one I will take with me daily, remembering to praise Him in the storm, because He has made me glad!