“Therefore take up the whole armor of God...praying always...” Ephesians 6:13, 18
Have you ever felt like you are stuck between a rock and a hard place? The rock being a situation you find yourself pressed against and the hard place being the will of the Lord that is anything but understandable or navigable to you? I feel like as of late this middle place I have found myself in between a particular rock and the hard place of God has been pressing me in and squeezing me tighter and tighter to the point I have been feeling spiritually claustrophobic over my predicament. It is as if my oxygen is depreciating, and with it so is my clarity in being able to reason and think about the best path that God has set before me into the hard place He wants me to go.
Today, as I was reading my bible and really praying about how stifled I have been feeling, I came upon two verses that helped me to better discern how God was leading me to endure my spiritually cramped situation. The first verses were the ones above I listed from Ephesians 6 and the second set of verses had to do with the woman Anna from Luke 2.
“Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess...who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.” Luke 2:36-37
God really spoke to my heart about how, through all of the struggling I have been having against this rock in my life, I have let my armor become a bit dented and dull. His desire was not for me to turn to my rock and beat on it and destroy it, but rather He allowed it to stay there so I would instead turn myself around towards Him and train before Him, thus using my armor and sharpening my skills and sword. I have to admit that my attempts to move myself and/destroy this rock have tired me beyond where I had wanted to go and should have gone. Truly, deep down in my selfish heart, I would just love to see the rock disappear and to just be done with this situation. But, I am slowly finding that no effort on my part is going to make that happen – that job alone is for God to bring about not my destroying the rock but rather by leading me towards Him into His “hard place” and away from the situation that has so consumed me.
Anna proved to be an example of such a woman who didn't let her difficult situations deter her from her calling into the hard places of the Lord. She had much to fight against, but instead of fighting her big rocks in life, she instead turned to the Lord with fasting and praying. No rock of an excuse was big enough to stop her from taking her attention off the hard places the Lord put before her and she understood those hard places and God's clear direction through them because she took the time to fast and pray and look to Him alone.
As I look towards tomorrow, I now know what I need to do to redirect my attention back to where God wants my focus to be – to put on the whole armor, to fast, to pray, and to look to Him and nothing or no one else. From past experience I know this formula always works but it is never easy and it takes every ounce of discipline in me (plus a lot of help from the Holy Spirit) to bring my good intentions to fruition. Actually, looking at this, the last week of this Christmas rushing season, it seems like all the more fitting time to set apart a day to get back on track with God and focus on the real reason for the season even while I am wedged in between this rock and hard place for my betterment and His glory.