God, Unclog My Spirit
By Laura J. Bagby
CBN.com Sr. Producer
After work, I basically hit a wall yesterday. I love my job, I have a great church, and I have caring friends and family, and I am seeing success in many areas of my life. But somehow, I just lost faith. I lost hope. My compass was off. After a trying day, all I could think was, I am so stressed. I am completely drained. I am over it. I am ready to throw in the towel. I felt like I had been molassooed, which is my word for that feeling of being stuck in some thick, dark muck, like you are wearing heavy boats and trying to move through a sea of undulating molasses.
My church has set aside this month to seek God for revival, both corporately and personally, through a purposeful and concerted prayer effort. It’s supposed to be a time for renewal and peace. Yet my daily life has been more and more cluttered with distractions, extra unplanned meetings, and a brain that can’t seem to turn off and turn peacefully to God and keep focused on all that is true and honorable and lovely (Philippians 4:8), as His Word says. I know that God keeps in perfect peace those whose minds are stayed on Him and trust in Him (Isaiah 26:3), but it has been a serious battle to do that, even after repenting of my sins and taking a stand against the enemy. Somehow there needs to be a major spiritual overhaul.
I have sought God more and more often this month in an effort to fight the obstacles that have threatened to hold me back from His grace, His wisdom, His provision, and most importantly, His will. About a week or so ago, I drove to church and spent time in soaking prayer for several hours before the Lord. I did well to stay still and wait on God for about 20 minutes, but after that, I was squirming. I wanted to hear from Him so badly, but I couldn’t seem to quiet my mind or body to do that. My time with God wasn’t fruitless, but I did walk away with many of my questions and concerns still unanswered.
Repeatedly, my prayer just about every day has been, “God, I need Your grace. I need to know Your will. Lord, you are going to have to break through. I can’t do it.”
Then last night, after a trying day, I skipped dinner, shut the door to my bedroom, threw myself on the floor, and cried with swollen eyes, “Lord, I can’t do this life without You. I am truly, truly desperate for You. If You don’t show up, I don’t know what I am going to do!”
Needing God at this point wasn’t some sweet notion – it was a complete necessity. I sobbed as quietly as possible so as not to disturb my roommate, who was preparing to go out of town the next morning on a weekend vacation. I just felt like no one cared or understood the things I was battling. I wondered if God was disappointed with me, too.
I was planning on just sobbing into my pillow and going to bed early discouraged, but God got a hold of me. It wasn’t dramatic; it was gentle, which was exactly what I needed. I was reminded in my spirit that there was no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Somehow, there was this sense that God was looking down on me with compassion (Psalm 86:15; 103:8; 145:8) – after all He is love. He understood my broken heart. Yes, God is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). That helped me get off the floor and open my Bible.
God started directing me to passages of comfort as well as passages of correction. He wasn’t pointing His finger at me, but I did sense Him guiding me as I poured over Scripture passages. I read through portions of James, where it talks about godly wisdom being pure and peace-loving and submissive (James 3:17). Wow, I had really failed on that one lately. I read many verses in 2 Corinthians about Paul’s ministry there. He went through some major trials and tribulations in doing good to others, often with little appreciation or credit given for his efforts, yet he remained focused on the unseen realm of God’s glory rather than his lack or his disheartening circumstances. And here I was focusing on expecting credit and expecting everything to be wonderful. I had my sights on what was right before my eyes, and to me it looked bleak. No wonder I was feeling hopeless. I read that section in Romans where Paul confesses that he does what he doesn’t want to do, and what he does want to do, he can’t seem to do (Romans 7:14-23). I could certainly relate to that. But if you read on in that passage, it says that we have hope because of Christ (Romans 7:24-25). I was reminded that I need to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh. I am not a slave to sin. I am liberated to live on a new plane, one that begins and ends with the inner workings of Jesus Christ, who lives inside of my heart.
After about two hours, my spirit began to lift. I didn’t feel hopeless anymore. I didn’t feel like my Heavenly Father was upset or angry. What I did receive was a sense of renewed peace and a sense of calm in my heart. And let me tell you, that was truly remarkable. You just can’t buy that kind of spiritual blessing. His grace was and is sufficient for me (2 Corinthians 12:9).
The next morning when I awoke, the black cloud threatened to return. Instead of giving in to it as I had done before, I took those thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). I decided that I didn’t have to be controlled by any negative feelings. The Word of God is above and beyond my emotions, so I rejected those niggling thoughts because according to the Bible they weren’t true. God says He has good plans to bless and prosper me and not to harm me (Jeremiah 29:11). God’s Word tells me that when I ask for bread, He doesn’t give me a stone; God’s Word says that He gives good gifts (Matthew 7:9-11). I chose to rest on those truths and to trust that God would make it all right again, even though I didn’t know how. And you know what? Those negative thoughts and feelings left me.
I guess it’s just like that passage in the Bible where it says, “Submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). It’s really a two-pronged concept. My pastor at church pointed this out to me. I had always taken that a bit out of context. I figured that if I simply resisted the devil, he would have to skedaddle. But in reality, I first have to submit to God. I must agree with God and His Word. I must trust that He will do what I can’t do. I asked the Holy Spirit once again to come and fill me. I put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17), and bound up those oppressive, fearful, harassing spirits and sent them back to hell in the name of Jesus Christ.
As Christians, there are times when we can know what is true according to God’s Word, but we still struggle with making that truth personal and real in our own lives. We know it’s true in our heads, but that concept hasn’t gotten down to our hearts yet. We struggle with unbelief, even though we shouldn’t. We battle fear, though we know that we have Perfect Love living inside of us and that Perfect Love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). In these times, God really does have to hack through some of the weeds in our lives to penetrate our hearts again. He has to break through and shine His light of truth again so that we can come out of the fog, so that we can be unclogged.
I am just thankful that when we cry out to God, He does hear our prayers and He does rescue us (Psalm 34:17). The answer might take more time than we anticipated. How God answers us might be very different from what we expect (Isaiah 55:9). But in the end, He does show Himself strong. He says He won’t give us more than we can bear. He does keep our foot from stumbling (Psalm 56:13; 116:8).
I am reassured that He doesn’t leave us in the dust, along the side of the road licking our wounds. He sent His Son to be wounded for us. When I feel like I am burdened beyond my capacity, I need to remember that Christ Jesus really and truly bore the entire weight of sin on His shoulders (Isaiah 53:12, 1 Peter 2:24) – the sin of not only His generation, but all generations past, present, and future. There are going to be times I can’t handle my life – and that’s the point. I am desperately in need of my Savior and Lord every minute of every day to walk through this life with joy, to do His will, to stand firm. We must walk by the Spirit. We battle not against flesh and blood but spiritual powers and principalities of evil (Ephesians 6:12).
I pray that God encourages your heart today and that you know that no matter how bad things look in the natural or how awful and desperate you feel, God is right there and He wants to help you. He is only a prayer away, and He does answer when we call.
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