Our recent move hit me in a way I did not anticipate. We felt called by God to relocate to Ohio, and I believe God confirmed this is a number of ways (a whole separate blog entry). So for me, I expected the transition to be kind of tough but overall not too bad. I worried more for my children than I did myself. I moved in 8th grade and again before my junior year of high school. I survived that as a kid, so I knew I’d be fine moving to Ohio.
And then reality hit me. Between April and August, I struggled. There were days I literally had to pull myself up and get through the day. There were days I felt joy. It was a back and forth struggle, and it was really hard. In mid-July, I had a particularly difficult day and journaled my prayer to God. That same day, I came across 1 Peter 5:5-10 in my Bible and really absorbed that section of Scripture.
“Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (ESV, my emphases)
I am no Biblical scholar, and I don’t want to sound that way. Instead, I am sharing what I feel like God convicted in me during this very difficult time through these verses.
This Scripture calls us to take action: be humble, cast all our anxieties on Him, be sober-minded, be watchful, resist my adversary, and be firm in our faith. This Scripture tells us God: gives grace, cares for us, has called us, will restore us, will confirm us, will strengthen us, and will establish us. I love how there were seven actions of God when I listed this out in my journal. Completion.
God instructs us to resist our adversary, the devil, who is trying to destroy us. He doesn’t want us to have a relationship with God. He doesn’t want us to spread the Good News about Jesus Christ. He seeks to devour us and disrupt us in God’s plans. And we are not alone. Don’t miss that. All around the world, our brothers and sisters in Christ are experiencing this same attack from the adversary. Our friends are experiencing the struggle. Be mindful, and don’t be afraid to reach out after you have given it to God. Sometimes, we need to lean on the community God so wonderfully provided us.
God reminds us that he has called us to HIS eternal glory in Christ, and God HIMSELF will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us. I love this verse. I have experienced it, and that didn’t connect for me until I wrote this entry. Throughout my struggle, I continued to give my anxieties to God. I told Him my fears, my worries, what I didn’t understand, and that I flat out was confused by this call. In August, I started to feel better. I had days – and still do – where I really miss my community back in WV. God has started to restore me, to confirm me, to strengthen me, and to establish me. It’s a wonderful feeling!
After reading and journaling on this, I looked up a couple different versions. The NLT version tells us to stay alert! The Message version warns: “The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up.” It also instructs us to “Keep a FIRM GRIP on faith” (my emphasis). I love the image of these versions. The adversary tried to pull me from my faith. He attempted to poke holes and fill them with lies. The TRUTH is, God cares for me. Only God Himself will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish me.
We need to cast all our cares on Him because He cares for us. ALL. Not just the big stuff, not just the stuff we believe we can’t handle on our own. Everything. All of it. Big or small. Keep turning to Him. For me, it took months before I felt a turn. Just because you give it to God doesn’t mean He’ll respond the way you want right away. For me, I wanted to understand why I was called to Ohio. I wanted to understand all His plans for me! I still don’t know why I am here, but God is giving me peace about it. He is confirming in me that it’s His plan, and calling me to trust Him. At the proper time – HIS time – he will exalt us. Stay firm. Resist the temptation from the adversary to believe the lies. Hold tight to the truth and your faith in the face of a storm.