The Day She Stopped Hearing His Lies

  
It was just an ordinary day, she stood in the kitchen, at the sink…when he came in. The Voice of Despair. She didn’t notice at first, but soon could feel his darkness enter the room. It started with a thought, as small as a seed, he planted in her mind. And the seed took root into fear. Vivid pictures flashed through her mind, her worst nightmares playing like movie screens. It wasn’t even 8 a.m. yet, and she already felt it. The panic. The despair. The horrible feeling that things would never, could never…change. Her hope had already fallen down around her ankles. 

It was like she couldn’t take her mind off it. The fear. It just kept playing in her head over and over–like she was strapped in a chair of the movie theater. These awful images. Some real, some imagined. He kept taunting and tormenting, “You know it will never change,” he said. She tried to shake her head. “You know I will always be able to find you here.” She began to hang her head in defeat. “I know your weakness. I know I can always paralyze you…with this, however far you go, however high you climb, however much you heal…I know how to get to you. Sorry, darling, you’re mine.” 

She squinted her eyes closed, as the theater played on, trying hard not to watch, her chin tucked to her chest. And as the tears streamed down, and the mascara ran, she suddenly thought of Him: Jesus. The One who could rescue her. The dark voice tried to shake her, “Stay with me, I’m talking to you!” He threatened. “If you don’t listen to me, I will make sure it happens! Your nightmares–I’ll make them come true if you ignore me! You know if you don’t contemplate your fears–they will happen. And you won’t even see it coming. You won’t be prepared for them when they do!”

But the more she thought of Jesus, the more the dark voice began to fade into the background, and the more her strength began to return to her. She thought only of Jesus riding on His white horse, His fire in His eyes, His sword at His side, her name on His lips. The taunting continued. “No!” she said to the dark voice, “This won’t work on me anymore.” He started to laugh, a deep, terrible, patronizing laugh. “I don’t belong to you,” she said in a firm quiet voice. The dark voice continued, “I think you and I both know about the past…why would the future be any…”

But something changed in her, right then, in that moment. Because she started singing. She started singing so loud in worship to the One who would save her that she could no longer hear the taunting voice, the torment, the pain. Because she was singing too loud. She was singing so loud, and worshiping so passionately, so desperately–she drowned out every other sound. The darkness spoke on, but she could no longer hear it.  

And when she opened her eyes, those horrible, taunting images were no longer on the movie screens. They had all gone white. And now instead, they showed: the One who would rescue her. The One who would shout in the end, when at last He saw her, “Mine! Mine! Mine! This one is mine!” The One who would take her to the place where there would be no more sickness, and pain, and sin. No more heartache, and taunting fears, and betrayal, and wounds. No more perversity or darkness. But all would be right and new and holy. And this place would be the place she had been longing to go her entire life, but didn’t know it. And this place was Home. 

And there He, her Savior, would wash her with His blood, and cleanse her with pure water, and clothe her with His righteousness. And then He would sit with her, for a very long time, and with a slow and gentle hand, brush away every single tear from her eyes that she ever cried. And kiss away her pain. He would become the balm for every wound. And she would fall at His feet in worship. And she would cry out, “Worthy!” She would cry out, “Jesus!” as hot and happy tears fall. “You are so much better than they said you’d be!” And she would cry, “You are worth it! You were so worth it! You were worth every hardship I endured! You were worth every heartache I lived through. And just to see Your face is enough. Just to feel your touch has healed every wound a thousand times over, so I am like new, I’m like a child. And just to feel your embrace, and at last, to hear your laugh. You’re real, actual laugh, has reached down and warmed and thawed every part of my heart, for there is no one like You. In all the earth. And for every tear of pain I cried on earth, now flow a thousand happy tears. And laughter. For You are the Beauty I always longed for, the Voice that was always calling, the One whom I have hungered and thirsted after, and I did not know you loved me…like this.” 

Dear Daughters (& Sons) of God,

It’s time to push back the darkness. We were not meant to live bound, but free. And we were not given a spirit of fear. But a spirit of love, and of power, and of a sound mind. (2 Tim. 1:7) It is so easy to tremble at the darkness. It is easy to let it’s whispers take us over. It is easy to let our minds spiral down. For anxiety to come. For panic to ensue. But we were made for more.

Chances are you know by now, what Satan whispers that disarms you every time. What he says that torments your mind, and destroys your peace. But whatever that fear, however heinous or grievous, I want to tell you something: Jesus isn’t afraid of it. 

Not at all. Not even a little bit. He’s not in heaven wringing his hands, or furrowing His brow thinking, “I hope that never happens!” Because nothing happens without His permission. And nothing happens that is not for His greatest glory, and our greatest joy. And He’s got you. 

Right now, today, at this moment, the God of the universe is at total peace. Do you know why? Because He is in charge. He calls the shots. He holds the power. He holds the power to life and to death—and nothing, I mean NOTHING, can separate us from Him, and His love. (Romans 8:38-39)

Let today be the day that His perfect love CASTS OUT your fear. (1 John 4:18) Whatever it is. However big, or monstrous. Let today be the day you STOP LISTENING to Satan’s lies. Because that’s what they are, lies. He wants to steal your peace, and destroy your hope.

But I am here to tell you: Jesus Christ is your hope. You have hope and He is alive, He is powerful, He is coming, and He is a force that cannot be reckoned with. 

So trust Him.

Let His Word, and His promises play on the screens of your mind. Only think about “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable.” (Phil. 4:8) And sing to Him, worship Him, not just for what He has done, but for what He is going to do. Because you can’t hear the lies if you’re singing too loud, and you can’t feel the torment if you are lost in the joy of His Presence. 

I believe that someone reading this has forgotten they have hope. Someone feels afraid. Terrified even. Paralyzed by the same fear, again and again. Who feels like things will never change. Like God cannot push through. Like God is able to redeem every situation…except theirs. 

I want you to know: you have hope. He is coming to redeem your situation. You have the Light of the World fighting for you. And the battle isn’t over yet. Satan will be defeated underneath your feet. 

We have the power to decide what plays on the movie theaters of our minds, because we have the power to “Destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

As John Piper says, we need to “sever the root of sin’s promise, by the power of a superior promise.” And that promise is the promise of the Living God. Who fights for us. Who lives in us. Who gives us peace. Who overcomes the world. And every stronghold. And every temptation. So that in the end you can say, “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and have not turned aside.” Job 23:10-11 

Because the power of God is greater than the power of sin. And He trembles at nothing. He only ever triumphs. “Having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Colossians 2:15

He is coming to rescue you. He is coming to drench you with His grace like a summer downpour. He is coming to plunge you into His oceans of mercy. He is coming to silence those whispers. He is coming like a tiny spark in the darkness, growing steadier and brighter, like the breaking forth of dawn, who is coming to save you with the armies of Heaven riding behind Him. And nothing in all creation will stop Him. 

Christmas is for Desperate People

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To My Daughter on Christmas,
I realize Christmas may seem a little confusing right now: This week you saw a glowing tree magically appear in our living room. (Then you were yelled at for touching it.) We went to the mall story-time and you got paper antlers and jingle bells to wear. Christmas music blared and as we strolled away, you saw a very long line of kids waiting to sit on an old man’s lap. Later that night, I dressed you in your new red and pink reindeer pajamas–but you kept calling them, “puppies.”

I know you are not yet two, but even at twenty-seven, this holiday can still make your head swirl. But someday, I hope you can see what Christmas is really about, and that is this: Christmas is for desperate people.

Last night, as you pulled all the ornaments within your reach off our Christmas tree, you kept pointing to one in particular you called, “baby.” We haven’t talked about this “baby” yet. But He is the reason we have Christmas at all.

See, a long time ago, the world was full of desperate people. And it was dark, and sad, and in need of a Rescuer. Remember how I told you I used to cry because I had to wait a very long time for you to be born? The earth was waiting for a baby too. But this was no ordinary baby. He was the Rescuer. He would rescue people from death, and despair, and darkness. Because the people loved darkness, they kept running further and further away from God. They didn’t know His love yet. What they needed to see, was a God who would run towards them. A God who would come close. At any cost.

God had been silent a very long time. But two thousand years ago, in a barn, in the starlight, in the straw, His teenage momma pushed out His warm, slippery, little body. And the moment this “baby” let out His first cry–the silence was broken forever. Between God and men.

And as His mom held Him on her chest and felt His skin against hers, she breathed out His name, “Jesus.” “Immanuel.” It means, “God is with us.”

And He was.

God had come. Skin to skin. Breath to breath. And soon, blood for blood. For the desperate. For the sinners. And that’s what that “baby” means. That was the beginning. Of God coming close to us. Of us being brought close to Him. Forever.

Sadly, some people don’t really know why we have Christmas. They try very hard to be happy and make it mean something, but they don’t know that the only reason to be happy is that the Rescuer made a way for us to be saved from going to a very bad place, and that we can be close to God now. Forever.

I’m telling you this because you are going to see big presents and flashing lights, and hear Christmas carols, and there will be cookies, and ugly sweaters, and people rushing around buying gifts. There will be little Santa’s and big inflatable ones, and reindeer, and movies, and ads for toys, and itchy dresses, and family photos. And I give you full permission to enjoy those things. But those are extra. They are not the main thing. Christmas is about Jesus.

And He came to save people enslaved to sin. To free people from addiction. He came to cleanse sinners in His blood and clothe the naked in His righteousness. He came to take shame away. He came to feed the hungry with good things, to make rich the poor, to set captives free. He came to give Living Water to the thirsty, so they may not thirst any more. He came for brokeness and unhealable pain. He came for the lowly. And for those who thought they were really holy. He came for people who would break their marriage vows. And for all the people who would be wounded by it. He came for girls that would take off their clothes for attention, and men who would take off their rings for satisfaction. He came for people with cancer, who would be healed in the life to come. He came for abused people, and sexually confused people. He came for depressed and anxious people, and those paralyzed constantly by fear. And shame.

And He came for people like me. Because, though you don’t know yet, you will know soon that: I am desperate. And I say this with tears: I desperately need Jesus. I need Him. He is life to me.

Me and your dad: we are desperate people. We are weak and sinful. We get angry. We do bad things, we think bad things. But in Jesus, we find an invitation to come. Not because of who we are, or what we’ve done, but because of who He is, and what He’s done. Are you desperate? I pray one day you will be.

Because of this you can be sure—He is coming back again. Not as a Baby this time, but as King. And He’s coming for the desperate. And only for the desperate. “For all those who have longed for His appearing.” (2 Tim. 4:8) And when He comes back He won’t appear as weak and lowly, but exalted and glorious. King of the earth. He will ride in on a great white horse, wearing many diadems, and He will be called: Faithful and True. On his robe and on his thigh will be written: King of kings and Lord of lords. And all the armies of heaven will ride in behind Him. And all nations and people will fall down before Him. And when He lifts His voice, the only ones who will rise will be, the desperate. Desperate for Jesus. And they shall enter the Wedding Supper of the Lamb and be satisfied forever. And nothing shall separate them from His love.

For God himself will be with them.

Immanuel.

So if you want to celebrate Christmas, my dear, we shall. We will celebrate the only way we truly can: as desperate people. As those who long for His appearing.

Love,
Mom

Photo Credit/Teamaskins