God’s Lens of Love and Grace Overcomes Satan’s Vicious Lies That God Doesn’t Care

“See what great love the Father
has lavished on us, that we should
be called children of God! 
And that is what we are!”

1 John 3:1

That is what we are? Children of God? Yes! God is a Father who will never, ever hurt us like earthly fathers sometimes do. He delights in us, so deeply that Jesus came to suffer and die in our place. Willingly. Lovingly. Lavishly.

Do you ever feel like you know this in your head, but your heart sometimes struggles to believe it? Your legs feel too rubbery to get up and move forward and receive this truth He so freely offers? Your hands feel too weak to take hold of His proffered hand of love and grace? Especially in times of vulnerability when Satan pummels us with his vicious lies and stomps us under his feet?

Believe me, Satan knows where we’re most vulnerable. Terminal or chronic illness can sap our energy. Depression and other mental illnesses can suck us down, down, down into a deep, dark hole where we lose hope and can’t see a speck of light anymore to lead us out. Losses of so many kinds can make us wonder where God is. Loss of self and devastation of lives through abuse or other traumas. The death of loved ones. Betrayals. Desertions. Divisions. Loss of jobs and financial means. The pandemic and all its repercussions. And on and on it goes. And Satan stalks as a hungry and determined lion watching, waiting, and pouncing on us when we’re weak and vulnerable.

When we’re discouraged, we become an easy target, and it can be harder to fight off those negative voices of never being enough. Those critical voices that say we’re unlovable, unwanted, and surely not needed in this world. Those vicious voices that say Jesus does not care and there is no hope or help for us.

Satan knows exactly when our bodies or souls are weary and feeling too weak to hang onto God’s truth. He sometimes convinces us to look through our lens of skewed perspectives because of past or present trauma and hurting words and actions that can drown out the remembrance of our identity in Christ Jesus. He doesn’t want us to look through the lens of truth that we are Jesus’ beloved, that Jesus cares so deeply, and He is with us no matter how difficult our struggles are.

Recently, I was looking through that distorted lens before I even realized it. My heart became so heavy, and I couldn’t understand why. Help me, Jesus! I turned to the One who knows and understands the deepest troubles of our hearts. The One who cries with us and longs for us to release our burdens into His hands.

And He graciously opened one of His promises to me:

“The God of peace will soon
crush Satan under your feet.
The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you!”

Romans 16:20

Yes, Jesus in His powerful love and grace has already gained the victory over Satan, but as long as we’re on earth, Satan will try his utmost to bring us to doubt that truth. The grace of Jesus will always be with us here and help us through the heaviest trial, but won’t that be a glorious day when Satan will forever be crushed under our feet?!

If we hear condemning or shaming voices, it’s not God. God may sometimes lead us in a way of correction out of love, but He will never condemn us even when we fail or fall. Even though He knows that in our weakness, we sometimes do take up those distorted lens Satan digs up and gives us. He can and will remove those lens and again give us His lens of love and grace. The lens He sees us through. His lovable and wanted child who is needed in this world to spread the same love He gives us to others.

“So now there is no condemnation
for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:1

“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:
‘I have loved you with an everlasting love;
 I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.'”

Jeremiah 31:3

Is Life’s Journey Too Great For You?

Have you ever felt so tired of life’s journey that you wish God would just take you to Himself? So battle-worn from fighting against Satan’s persistent lies crushing you down to despair? So heart heavy with the mess this world is in and how God and love and compassion are often shoved aside?

Elijah was tired of living. He was advocating for the One True God, and he had just confronted the false prophets of Baal. Queen Jezebel was furious and out to kill him. Filled with fear, Elijah fled and ran a day’s journey to the wilderness. He was weary – mind, body, and soul. Exhausted, he collapsed under a broom tree, a large desert bush.

“I have had enough, Lord. Take my life…” he cried. As he sank into the mire of despondency, he lay down and fell asleep.

A touch woke him up. “Arise and eat,” an angel said. Bread baking on some hot coals and a jar of water were waiting for him. He ate and drank, but he lay down again.

But the God of endless patience and compassion didn’t let him remain there. Elijah’s journey on this earth was far from over. His work for God was not finished. Again an angel touched him. “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.”

“The angel of the Lord
came again a second time
and touched him and said,
‘Arise, eat, because the journey
is too great for you.’”
1 Kings 19:7

This time Elijah surrendered his weary soul to God. He got up. He ate and drank. He opened his heart to God’s faithful provision and moved forward in the strength of God. Jezebel was still looking for him. He didn’t know what danger, loneliness, or disappointment lay ahead. But he remembered God is bigger than anyone or anything he would face, God was with him no matter what, and God would strengthen him in His journey on this earth.

In this journey of life,
We will have
Times of deep anguish,
Times of sinking in the mire of despair,
Times of feeling forsaken by God.

But Jesus Whispers

My precious child,

I’m still the same God today.

I was there for Elijah

And I am here for you.

Arise and eat, My child.

The journey is too great for you.

Eat the manna of My love

Drink My life-giving water

Relax in the arms of My grace,

My power and My will.

And you will find rest

For mind, body, and soul.

I hold you, My child,

In the arms of My everlasting love,

No lies can snatch you away from Me.

You are safe with Me.

Marvelously made and enough.

Ssshhh…

Be still, My child, be still.

Be encouraged

You don’t have to journey alone.

Rest in My Truth,

And I will refresh your weary soul.

“No, in all these things
we are more than conquerors
through Him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,

neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers, neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:37-39

Heal Our Land
by Kari Jobe

“You take our lives
Flawed yet beautiful
Restore, refine
Lord You’re merciful
Redeem, revive
Spirit of God
Breathe on Your church
Pour out Your presence
Speak through Your word
We pray in every nation, Christ be known
Our hope and salvation, Christ alone
New power, new wine
As divisions fall
One church, one bride
Jesus, Lord of all
With one voice, we cry…”

Depression and Anxiety Help and Hope Resources

“Seeing the people,
He felt compassion for them,
because they were distressed and dispirited
like sheep without a shepherd.”
Matthew 9:36 NASB

“There are seasons when
doubts and fears abound,

and so suffocate us with their fumes
that we cannot even raise a cry,
and then the indwelling Spirit
represents us, and speaks for us,
and makes intercession for us,
crying in our name.”
~ Charles Spurgeon

” In the same way the Spirit
also helps our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we should,
but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us
with groanings too deep for words.”
Romans 8:26-27 NASB

Trapped In My Own Mind: Three Lies Depression Loves by Sarah Walton

Depression does not mean God is punishing us, does not mean God is absent, and it does not make us useless.

“Depression of spirit is no index of declining grace. It is Christ and not the absence of depression that saves us. So, we declare this truth. Our sense of God’s absence does not mean that He is so. Though our bodily gloom allows us no feeling of his tender touch, He holds on to us still. Our feelings of Him do not save us. He does.”
– Spurgeon’s Sorrows, 38–39

Anxiety in Children: How to Recognize Symptoms and Help Anxious Children by Dr. Michelle Bengston

“In recent days, anxiety has been at an all-time high not just in our country but across the world. Think your child hasn’t been anxious? Don’t be so sure. On the podcast, we’ve recently started a series on how to defeat anxiety during times of crisis. I recently recorded a podcast episode with my son taking his “emotional temperature” in the wake of spring break being extended, school-going online instead of in person, and being unable to socialize as normal with peers (Helping a Teenager with Anxiety). After talking with him, I knew we needed to have further discussion about how to recognize anxiety in children and help them.”

The Story of the Oyster and The Butterfly: The Corona Virus and Me

Bonnie Gray offers this soul care resource from a therapist who helped her through healing from emotional childhood trauma – “This free book written by a psychotherapist and author Ana M. Gomez will help children understand and process their feelings about Covid-19. A wonderful tool to spark conversations with your child. Great for adults too!”

Rebecca Hastings offers a simple guided journal.

“I have been struggling with my feelings during the Coronavirus Pandemic our world is facing. That is expected. What I didn’t expect was to struggle with PRAYING through it. I know that God is here, even in this. But sometimes it is hard to find the words when our emotions are all over the place. That’s why I made this journal for us.”

On the guided pages, there are spaces to write who God is, what we’re grateful for, what we’re honestly feeling that day, what we ask God to help us with, and a place to write out a verse from His Word.

American Psychological Association’s COVID-19 Information and Resources

Resources relevant to our mental health during this pandemic and continually updated by APA for psychologists, health-care workers and the public

Crisis Hotlines and Resources

“Need to talk to someone? Specialists are available for confidential telephone counseling.”

Covid-19 Resource and Information Guide

Helpful guide from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) – simple actions to aid our mental health and calm our anxiety, preventing and addressing social stigma, questions answered, helplines, and more

“I often feel very grateful to God that I have undergone fearful depression. I know the borders of despair and the horrible brink of that gulf of darkness into which my feet have almost gone. But hundreds of times I have been able to give a helpful grip to brethren and sisters who have come into that same condition, which grip I could never have given if I had not known their deep despondency.” ~ Charles Spurgeon

Blessings
by Laura Story