For those of you who know me well, you know that today is the first day that I am back in Florida after moving my daughter to another state for college. I share this with you because as we prepared for that move, I found myself in an emotional place of tug of war. At times, I could literally feel the two realms (God’s heavenly realm and Satan’s earthly realm) both vying for me to hand over my emotional state (which as you know is a piece of my soul, since our soul is comprised of our minds, wills, and emotions).
Friends, last Tuesday morning, I read Pastor Mary’s devotion and the Spirit of Christ reminded me that “only those (of us) who have a relationship with Christ can cast down fear when it rises up in human emotion, because Jesus IS (OUR) Prince of Peace..” Pastor Mary had graciously offered to write today’s devotion, knowing that I would most likely be traveling back on the last leg of our return trip, but the Spirit nudged me early Tuesday morning to read today’s devotional passage. I know that “nudge” was to prepare my heart for the rest of what last week had for me. Jesus was showing me that I had a choice. I could allow my soul to press into the world and walk in fear (away from Jesus) or I could fully hand my fears over to Jesus and gracefully walk it out, hand-in-hand with Him in full trust by allowing Jesus to take dominion over my soul and take away my emotional fears.
In Psalm 130 the writer cries out to God from the depths of despair. Actually, the first couple verses of this psalm remind me of the first couple of verses of Jonah’s prayer when he cries out to the Lord from inside the fish and just before God releases him (Jonah 2). Think about where Jonah was when he cried out in prayer to God, he was in the dark depths of despair in the whale’s body. Friends, you and I can find ourselves in the dark depths of the earth’s despair as we suffer from fear, grief, anxiety, depression, illness, loneliness, and so many more places. During these times, Satan is vying, or competing with God, for our very souls. He wants us to lay down our mind (our psychological state), our will (our spiritual state), and/or our emotions (our physical state) so he can tug just enough on one or more of these places to move us closer to him and further away from Jesus. During these vulnerable times, we must cry out to Jesus like Jonah, like the psalmist, because our prayers penetrate all earthly things and places as they reach God’s ears. Remember, no whale body can contain them and no devil in hell can stifle them, because all of our prayers that are uttered, even from the deepest darkest places of human despair, reach God’s ears, are heard by God, and are answered by God. We must cling to Jesus within these places, wait on Him to bring us out, and trust He will reveal the plans He has to use these places. So, count on Jesus as you rest in His hands, trust in His comfort, allow His strength to fill you, His peace to wash over you, and call on His Spirit each moment to bring you His joy, mercy, grace, and love.
Psalm 130 (NLT)
A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.
1 From the depths of despair, O Lord,
I call for your help.
2 Hear my cry, O Lord.
Pay attention to my prayer.
3 Lord, if you kept a record of our sins,
who, O Lord, could ever survive?
4 But you offer forgiveness,
that we might learn to fear you.
5 I am counting on the Lord;
yes, I am counting on him.
I have put my hope in his word.
6 I long for the Lord
more than sentries long for the dawn,
yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.
7 O Israel, hope in the Lord;
for with the Lord there is unfailing love.
His redemption overflows.
8 He himself will redeem Israel
from every kind of sin.
Prayer: Jesus, thank You for hearing all of our prayers. Thank You for being there when we need You the most, within our places of despair. Thank You for keeping a tight hold on us and for standing against Satan when we are physically weak, psychologically weak, emotional weak, and spiritual weak. You are our Prince of Peace, and we cling to You, in Your Name, Jesus, we pray. Amen.