She Heard God's Voice, pt. 2

Last week, I described my daughter's amazing experience of hearing God's voice through the prayers and exhortations of her church family. This week, I want to share the aftermath.

We often hear, "I know this is God's will because he's opened every door for me." We think that if something is easy, God's cleared the way for us, so it must be His will. I don't deny that that's sometimes true, but I also know He said, "In this world you will have trouble" (John 16:33b, NIV).

I would love to tell you that my daughter (we'll call her E) had the best week ever, after hearing that God has plans to make a beautiful masterpiece of her. As Christians, we often put a shiny face on things because we're afraid our struggles will make God look bad. What I want to share today is that spiritual warfare is real, and God's response to Satan's attacks can be the best witness to His power.

After Sunday's amazing breakthrough, we have had one of the hardest weeks we've had in a long time. First, on Tuesday, E started having truly horrible thoughts. She was overwhelmed by them, and they frightened her so much she went to her school counselor's office to talk about it. These weren't the usual, "I'm worried about this or that" thoughts that teenagers have. These were the, "call in the crisis counselor" thoughts - "don't let the kid out of your sight" thoughts. That night, all three of her parents gathered under one roof to talk with her and to wait for a counselor to arrive and check in with her. This was the first time all four of us had spent that much time together, and it was the first time her dad had spent more than 5 minutes inside this house. God used Satan's attack on E's mind to draw her near and show her that she has a family that will do anything for her.

Then, E got sick with a terrible cold that kept her from sleeping well, made her brain-fogged and weary, and gave her a horrible cough. She spent three days on the couch recuperating, and she missed a day of school and church on Sunday. While she recuperated, we talked about how Satan will attack us, mind and body, to deceive us, discourage us, distract us, and destroy us. We watched the live stream of Karin's sermon yesterday and talked about the fact that Satan doesn't want us to live in the destiny God has called us to, and that he will do everything in his power to push us from that path. God used this illness to create a space for real spiritual discussions.

This morning, E woke up and said her head was itchy. I looked, and she has head lice. It's an extremely mild case, but we'll still spend the next half-hour combing them out of her hair, and she may be late for school. Interestingly, she was completely matter-of-fact, got busy gathering clothes and bedclothes to be washed, and started doing what she needs to do to get to school as early as possible. She handled the situation with complete equanimity. God used this setback to show E that she has the strength to persevere through the tiny, itchy, annoyances of life.

You see, God didn't promise it would be easy. He didn't say that believing in Him and following His plan for us will be a mansion filled with open doors and red carpets. He told us we would have trouble. But he also told us He'd be there with us every step of the way. He didn't just say "In this world you will have trouble." He told us to be at peace and to take heart.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33, NIV)

Sarah Jo Smith; 27 January 2020; Austin, TX

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