I sit in the chapel and come undone, my small form huddled before the God of the Universe.
I’m physically exhausted from chronic illness attacks. I’m cradling deep wounds, fighting to recall my true worth after time spent with seemingly accomplished, put-together women. I’m desperate for a breather, knowing that as soon as I step out the door, my mission and vocation will resume their demands.
The Lord gently points out the enemy’s tricks, as old as time. He shows me my mission is just as vital as that of Saints Paul and Barnabas in today's reading from Acts. Satan will attack my physical comfort. If I press on, he'll go for my pride, whispering lies of my identity, entreating me with glory for my actions. If, like these great Apostles, I can resist and point to the Lord, the enemy will then hold out despair, hissing, “You’re too weak to manage all of this. You can’t make a difference. You’re so ordinary, insignificant.”
But my God makes me extraordinary. He says that with Him, I can. I might be beaten down—mentally, emotionally, physically—but for once, instead of hiding or trying to “fix” it myself, here I am, handing it to the Lord with brutal honesty, asking in exchange for more of His truth to fight the lies, more of His strength in my weakness.
As I brace myself to head back into the world and persevere in His mission, I draw my hand across my body—top to bottom, left to right—and a vision swims into view: the lines of the cross illuminated like a firefly in the night. Light extends to connect each point of the cross, and as I tentatively reach out to embrace it, I see that this shining cross is actually a great shield.
This cross, His cross that we take up—in reality, a shield! He is our living shield, here to protect and strengthen us against every attack and temptation.
Yes—in every battle, Mighty God goes before us. Not for our glory, but for His. Not to expend us, but to save us. Not defeatist, but always, to eternity, victorious.
Encounter Our Lord in this spiritual warfare prayer today.
Megan Hjelmstad is a wife and mom 24/7 and an Army Reservist in her “spare” time. She is the Stories Manager for the Blessed is She Instagram account. She’s a bibliophile, tea drinker, sleep lover, and avid admirer of Colorado’s great outdoors. When the writing bug hits, you can find out more about her here.