“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen“(Heb.11:1).
I consider myself a person of faith, though that faith seems to wax and wane like the stations of the moon. This week in particular I had one of those crises of faith, days of despair.
I always thought I would make a good detective because I am good at gathering clues and evidence. I’ve had lots of practice finding lost items of my kids and husband, but I sure missed the mark in this situation.
I read the clues and evidence perfectly. Unfortunately and unknown to me, it was planted, and I fell for it like high heels on black ice. I was “set up,” by the master deceiver, the Devil himself. Maybe you, too, know what I mean.
Have you ever believed something with all your heart and soul to be an offense or a painful blow directed at you? Everything points to someone or something as the culprit. You know what they’ve said and done. There’s no question that they are the enemy, the cause of the grief and pain they inflicted in your life. Day after day, the evidence stacks up. It becomes unbearable. You may love them and pray earnestly that you can go on, that you can forgive. You’ve been through it before. You’ll get over it, you tell yourself. God is in charge, give it to Him.
It got so bad, I set the timer on the stove for one hour. God, I know you can work miracles. I can’t take any more. I’ll give you one hour to do something, ANYTHING, to make this situation better. To give me hope. What would I do if nothing happened? I couldn’t even think about it.
I prayed. I read the Bible. I cried. Nothing happened. Nothing happened all day.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
The next day, a friend sent that verse to me. She told me who the real enemy was, the one who had come to steal my joy. She later said she had felt prompted that very moment to write to me.
One major problem: I had all this evidence to the contrary: In direct contrast to the first verse above, I had evidence of things seen, and it was clear and obvious. Words and actions were substantive. Any jury would be swayed. On the other hand, all I had was one verse saying that Satan was the thief who came to steal my happiness, the Thief of Thieves.
I decided to abandon the evidence. I told God I couldn’t see it, but I would believe that I had been deceived, had actually been given false evidence. Just give me this faith to believe what I can’t see, that flies in the face of what I think I know to be true.
I didn’t even have to wait till the end of the day before I found out God was right, I was wrong. Boy, was I wrong.
“…Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar”….(Rom. 3:4).
It made me think about Joseph in the Old Testament. Look at the evidence that he had that people were total lowlifes. His brothers sell him into slavery. His master’s wife accuses him of seducing her then he’s thrown in jail. Finally, he thinks he gets his big break because God directly gives him the interpretation of two dreams of Pharaoh’s high-up servants. God’s getting me out of this place! He cares about me. He sees how long I have suffered and that I have tried to follow Him, he says to himself.
Then what happens? Nothing. No release comes, no help. No joy. He sees that he can’t trust anyone.
Finally, years later he is released and promoted to the highest office in the land under Pharoah. I believe that he felt blessed and joyful to be free, but what’s in the back of his head? I think something special was revealed to him when he saw his brothers:
“‘As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” (Gen. 50:20-21).
I believe that he first saw that God meant it all for good when he saw his brothers. There had been evidence of good and of a different reality that up to that point he had not seen, had been hidden. Satan had tried to steal his joy and had planted seemingly overwhelming evidence to prove that God wasn’t there all along.
So, to encourage you, I would say that you have to know that your real enemy, Satan, is a prosecuting attorney with every trick up his sleeve that you can imagine. He’s got tons of evidence and it looks like an open and shut case against you and your situation. It takes the intervention of your Advocate to show that the case is a sham, that there is another reality, revealed only through faith.
Seek your Advocate. Don’t let your enemy steal your joy. Things are not always what they appear to be.