“This is how I fight my battles.”
These are the words that hit me as I read over the social media post I had created for this month’s theme, back in January.
“It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by you” I sang to myself.
Have you heard the song surrounded, by Upper room? I’ll post it below for you to listen to. I loved it as soon as I heard it. Last year a friend shared the background to the song with me and it’s fair to say it spoke to me straight away. You know one of those moments you get when your mind is opened for the first time to something you have never fully understood or realised before?
During the clip they discuss Psalm 23:5:
“You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies.”
One thing that strikes me about this verse is that it doesn’t say, ‘You remove my enemies from me and then set a table for me.’ No, the enemies aren’t removed, rather we sit and eat in their midst.
Life’s a bit like that, really, isn’t it? We can encounter many “enemies” in our lifetime.
Maybe not in the traditional sense, but certainly in the metaphorical sense: job worries, a medical diagnosis, relationship problems.
These battles in life may not be removed from our path; we might have to walk straight through the middle of them. But, if we can get to the table with God, we can face them with Him and in His strength.
Surrender or Strive?
Isn’t it funny that in surrender, rather than striving, we find the ability to fight our battles? It sounds like they shouldn’t go together, right? An oxymoron. The word surrender literally means to give yourself over into another’s power. How can we successfully fight our battles when we give ourselves over into another’s power?
And yet, in surrendering myself fully to God in the midst of my darkest battles, that is when I have received my greatest breakthroughs.
God has reminded me several times in the last six months, ‘you need only be still’. And with that reminder has come a deep sense of peace.
In being still, rather than in my anxious striving, I find my rest.
When we give our concerns over to God we can relax, because we know we have a good God who’s very being is love. If you want biblical proof, John tells us in John 4:8 “God is Love”. And so, we can rest assured that when we surrender ourselves to God He will not harm us. We can trust Him because He is good and good to His very core.
What battles are you facing today?
Redundancy? Stress? An unexpected diagnosis? Our battles may seem to be massive mountains in front of us, seemingly insurmountable; too big for us to face alone. We’ve all gone through difficult life changes and hard seasons in our life, so battles are something we can all relate to.
I think back to a time when I was out of work over Christmas. Money was quickly running out and I had two options: go into panic mode or surrender the issue completely to God.
I chose the latter. I remember it being one of the most peaceful and beautiful times of my life, when I felt very close to God.
Every night as I lay in bed I would seek God’s presence, reading the bible and glancing through a book called “God’s little book of peace”. During the day I would job hunt and apply for jobs. As my bank balance got lower, in the new year I had an interview for two separate jobs, a week apart.
In bed one night, reading “God’s little book of peace”, the following extract massively spoke to me and I was certain that God would provide the right job for me:
“Accept The Challenge. God is never at a loss to know what He’s going to do in any given situation. He knows perfectly well what is best for us – our challenge is simply to trust Him.”*
I surrendered the outcome to God, trusting that the right job would be mine, believing it to be the second interview I was going for. As I told Cathy (one of our regular contributors) about my ongoing job hunt and my two interviews, she said to me, ‘I think you’re going to get the second job. I’ve just got a positive feeling it will be yours.’ And so it was! Even more incredibly, I was paid three days after starting work.
Are you currently in the middle of a storm and feeling the weight of the fight you are facing? Give the song, below, a listen and ask God to surround you where you are; with His peace, with His strength, with His presence. I pray that as you do, whether in the presence of your enemies or not, you make it to your seat at the table with God.
Enjoyed this devotion? Click here to read Rock Bottom to Redemption, the story of a marriage that hit rock bottom and recovered.
*God’s little book of Peace, by Richard Daly. ISBN 9780007528387