We are continuing a series about Satan’s accusations toward us. First Peter 5:8-9 gives us our second theme: “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.“
There we have it: suffering! Satan loves to use our suffering as a means of accusing us and diminishing our faith and trust in God.
Maybe your suffering is being misunderstood in a relationship. Or you are in physical pain. Or you have been looking for a job to no avail. Or your reputation has been slandered. It doesn’t matter what your suffering is, in those moments of pain, we are more prone to begin to agree with Satan’s accusations. We get worn down and grow weary. We can lose hope in God’s goodness and lovingkindness when Satan persistently whispers lies like:
- “God must not love you otherwise He wouldn’t allow this suffering.”
- “You must have done something wrong to deserve this suffering.”
- “If you were stronger in your faith, you would handle this suffering better.”
- “This is never going to end. You might as well give up now.”
- “God doesn’t hear your prayers otherwise, this would end.”
Those were many of the lies I “heard” three years ago as I was suffering from a herniated disc which caused intense sciatic pain. After being bed-ridden for six months and trying everything possible to stop hurting, I had surgery. My pain increased. If I’d thought I was at a “10” on the pain scale before, I didn’t even know what “10” referred to. Day and night, pain and discouragement clouded my mind from the truth. Larry said I aged five years. On Christmas Eve I thought about suicide. I was buying into Satan’s accusations and lies.
Deciding to rehearse various truths from Scripture helped me persevere and resist focusing on the lies. I choose to surrender myself again to all that God had for me. A month later, the pain began to diminish. Now I’m only occasionally sore.
Having God’s Word hidden in my heart (Psalm 119:9,11) empowered me to resist temptation, bringing clarity and strength. I remembered:
- God’s promise that He would “restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish” me in His timing (I Peter 5:10)
- I am not alone in my suffering and my suffering isn’t unique (I Peter 5:9)
- God would provide the “rescue” I needed (I Corinthians 10:13)
- God had a purpose in allowing my pain (Psalm 119:71)
- It was OK, even with God, that I couldn’t respond perfectly (Philippians 1:6)
- God never stopped loving me and only wanted to draw me closer to His loving heart (Psalm 89:30-33).
That process of “rehearsing” is what 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 talks about: “for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” (NASB).
Satan is banking on us not rehearsing those truths. We need to resist him and persevere.
What kind of suffering are you facing today? What promise should you take captive and rehearse? As a fellow sufferer, my heart goes out to you. Stay alert and strong. There is hope!