My intention was to give myself the week off. This has been a week where Satan’s lies have been looming larger than God’s truth. I’ve felt most days as if I don’t have enough of anything to scrape together to get me through the day, let alone give anyone else encouragement. BUT God won’t leave us in that hole, if we only let Him work.
This morning my sister and I went on the first of our weekly weekend runs. I knew I wanted to go, would feel better about the day if I went, but Satan’s lies– the ones I’ve been drowning beneath all week– were stealing my motivation. All week long this little voice at the back of my mind has been saying: “You are worthless. You are a failure. You will never get any farther than you are now and life will always be this meaningless pit that you drown in, so give up, Kate! Sit down in the ashes. Embrace the monotony. Face the fact that you’re a failure and always will be, and just stop trying.”
Now I know that none of these things are true about me. I’ve been preaching to that little voice all week the truth that God says about me and about you– familiar things! “He knows my every day before I ever breathed my first. He loves me and knew me before I was even born. He has plans for me, paths for me to walk. He promises me his steadfast love, his peace, and his strength even in all of my weaknesses. In His time, He will lead me where He wants me to go and I will follow and, no matter what comes at me today, He will be faithful. And most importantly I stand redeemed in the blood of His beloved Son Jesus, and when he looks at me He sees Jesus’ righteousness and nothing I ever do or don’t do will EVER change that fact!!!!!!”
Those are the things I have preached to that annoyingly little voice, the bearer of Satan’s lies, but sometimes Satan’s lies loom larger than God’s truth in our broken, fallen minds, and no amount of preaching seems to be able to snap us out of it.
So this morning, I wanted to sit and cry instead of going for the run that I love, but I went for the run anyways because I knew I should. And the beginning of the run was pretty good. Fresh air. Birds singing. Quiet Saturday morning, not much traffic on the other side of the lake. But halfway through, that voice, the lies again: “You can’t even do this run anymore. You can’t even run a piddling two miles. You suck. And even if you can, it’s ONLY two miles. Look at the people who run marathons. You’re just a fat, sorry girl, Kate. Look at your sister who’s gorgeous and people can tell that she runs. People probably look at you and wonder if you ever even get off your couch! You should stop. What’s the point?”
So I prayed. But praying makes me cry sometimes, because that’s what you do on your Father’s shoulder when you don’t feel good, you cry. Now I’m trying to run, trying to breath, and crying. Now for real I won’t be able to finish this two mile run because you kind of need to breath to be able to run. So gasping, eyes running, nose probably coming next, I just try to put one foot in front of the other.
It’s another voice this time, and not really my own, I’m sure, even though I’m thinking the words: “You CAN do this, Kate. You can run this two miles. Maybe you don’t feel like it, but you can run this two miles because you’re going to run it in MY strength.”
Now, literally, I know God gives us strength to get through, but this is the first time I’ve ever felt Him pushing me so obviously. He was going to prove to me with this run that His truth is stronger than all the lies Satan can throw at me. So I bear down, one foot in front of the other, legs pumping– tired but feeling good now– chest rattling from the crying, not breathing right, but this is God’s strength not mine. And for that last mile, the home stretch, I keep preaching God’s truth back at all those lies still dribbling, roaring in the back of my mind: “You can finish this run in God’s strength. You can finish this run in God’s strength. You can finish this run in My strength.”
The finish line comes fast, and my legs pump, my heart strains, I half gasp, half grunt because I’m still kind of crying, and for once I feel like I’m actually keeping pace with Steph (usually she leaves me in the dust at the end of our runs). We’re done! Finished! I put my head down, rest on my knees, wheeze and cough. That had been impossible. I was finished at mile one, but God wasn’t finished.
Steph pulls out her phone– she always tracks our run. We had done our best time, shaved off maybe a minute and a half since the last two mile run we had clocked.
And that’s what God does. That’s God’s truth. He takes what we feel is impossible, what we feel we should give up on before we even start, and He turns it into better than we can ever imagine or hope for. Oh there might be a lot of straining and coughing and crying and toiling along the way, but the finish line is His. And this is the greatest truth of all: HE WILL HAVE THE VICTORY.
So “Get behind me Satan. You are not up to task.”
“Then Job answered the LORD and said: ‘I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.'”