One of the many lessons I’ve learned as I continue to grow and strengthen my faith in God is that being a Christian does not make me immune to troubles, trials, tribulations, tests, stresses, setbacks, headaches, hardships, nor storms. Every now and again, just like anybody else, I’m hit with multiple shots of these phenomenons. Through my walk with God, Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit, what I’ve learned is that what matters most when encountering these trying times is how I respond to these tests for this determines the true measure of my faith and my spiritual development.
Many times throughout the course of my life, I’ve been plagued with the typical, introductory question by people asking, “How are you doing today?” While some instances I’ve had nothing but good responses to say, there have been other times when I’ve found answering this question to be a bit awkward for things in my life were nothing short of complicated. I wanted to give the fake, typical, vague reply of, “I’m doing well,” or, “I’m saved and highly favored,” or my favorite line by Christians, “I’m too blessed to be stressed!” After finding it too hard to pretend like I had it altogether, I decided to just start being completely honest with people. After telling someone anything but good news, the person often times looked at me funny, was slow to respond to the text, or worse, didn’t know how to respond to my honest answer to their question. I must say I find this phenomenon quite odd, dare I say strange, that we live in a world where everyone wants you to be doing well and have yourself completely, totally and confidently altogether and figured out, even when they themselves aren’t.
NEWSFLASH: Real life doesn’t work out that way!
Life is full of surprises and at every twist and turn, there comes a situation, whether good or bad, that you’ll have to deal with. We all are going through something in life. With the world in utter chaos, I think it’s high time we take off the blinding, rose-colored glasses and start getting real with one another. There are too many people dying and committing suicide all because they believe they are all alone and that no one understands their problems. Allow me to be the first brave one out the bunch today to get this thing going for its time to start saving lives! We do this by showing other people that we are human beings just like them, going through things just like they are, and that we have overcome some things just like they will.
So, let me begin by saying, honestly, there are some instances where I am an emotional mess. Being single, at times, I deal with a sense of longing, loneliness to connect with somebody, and can often times find myself daydreaming for that moment to arise when I’ll finally meet Mr. Right (aka My Future Husband). I’ve also found myself emotional about my goals in life and how slow I feel God’s plans are taking to manifest. Yup, I, too, question God on what’s taking so long and why I’m being faced with delays on my purpose and my career goals. I’m also a sinner who’s battled in my short lifespan with: depression, bitterness, shame, anger, anxiety, impatience, abuse of pain pills, sexual addiction, life frustration, heavy grief, heartache, physical and emotional pain, sexual and physical abuse, bankruptcy, economic hardships, career setbacks and worst, I’ve even tried to commit suicide three times in my past (the LAST and FINAL attempt being just two years ago) all because I was ashamed at how my life turned out, I was feeling like nobody cared about me and I believed my pain and burdens were too much to bare.
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.””(Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)
Now, each and every day, I live trying my best to get this thing called life right in hopes to achieve the goals, visions, dreams and calling on my life that The Lord has placed upon me, just as He’s placed a specific task or gift upon your life. I’m not perfect by any means! Even with my faith in God, every now and then, I find myself crying over things that are out of my control. However, just because I cry doesn’t mean I’m feeling hopeless or that I have lost my faith in God. On the contrary, like a tree, I’m deeply planted in His word and unwavering in my faith for I’ve seen the power of The Lord for myself. He’s the reason I am able to now have a sound mind, joy, purpose and peace. So, crying isn’t the absence of my faith; it’s the epitome of my faith for it’s saying to God,
“Lord, I need you! Don’t ever leave me for I can’t do this life on my own!”
Again, I cannot stress this enough, my life’s not perfect! I wish I could say that it was, but it’s not. Nobody’s is! Though my faith has grown stronger than it was before, I still deal with the same burdens as anyone else. Student loans still haunt me down like a ghost that won’t rest its soul, car troubles and bills seem to keep piling up left and right, my health reports from the doctors aren’t always good news or the news I’d like to hear, my finances are laughable at this point as I try to save in a world where everything cost, I have debt, and my dog has a ton of new vaccinations that he needs to receive, as well as a much needed end-of-summer hair trim.
“Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!” (Acts of the Apostles 16:25-26 NLT)
With everything that’s going on in my life, including having to delay the release of my beloved memoir that I’ve been working so hard on, there’s definitely been many moments in my life where I’ve felt like Paul and Silas: stuck in a place that I didn’t intend all while trying to praise my way through the looming darkness of the world surrounding me. Although this is one of my favorite scriptures, that’s strangely been popping up a lot lately in my Q.T. (quality time) with God, I must admit that I would read it briefly, try my best to apply it and as soon as I get hit with something else gone wrong, I’d forget all about it. Why, because although I spend daily, quality time with God, I, too, get distracted by everything piling up around me, especially when it feels like it’s all hitting me at once. I also deal with the personal pressure I placed upon myself to write no matter the circumstances in order to achieve my goals, even if my physical strength doesn’t allow it (like right now while writing this article after dealing with the aftermath of having a painful exam and steroid injection given to me by my doctor yesterday).
That’s just my point in today’s message. We all go through a sense of midnight where things seem murky, dull and dark with no way of turning around. That last part in the last paragraph shows one way the enemy plans his attack. He doesn’t want to see any of us operating solely by faith under God. He plays with our minds and wants to make us think that we are super-human beings capable of doing everything on our own terms and within our own physical capacity. His job is to make us believe that we do not need God.
So, it’s in those moments, each and every day, when I find myself having to press even harder into my faith by reading my daily scriptures and spending that dedicated prayer time with God. I must stay close to God for I cannot do this thing called life on my own! With everything that God has given me, every dream, vision, idea, plan, and blessing, I would be lost on my own without Him. That is why it’s so important to cultivate, nourish and nurture a personal relationship with God each and every day. So that when those midnight moments arise, we have the tools we need to get through them victoriously.
It’s through my recent trials, biblical studies and time with God that I’m learning why midnight comes. It comes for three (3) specific reasons, which I will get into in a minute. Keeping that in mind, one of the biggest key factors to consider when it comes to midnight is that this is the time that the devil loves to lurk and do his bidding. He uses the mask of darkness to prance on our insecurities, our deepest / darkest pains, and our inability to see any daylight or happiness in our lives by focusing our thoughts on our turmoils or problems. That’s why some of us single folk may feel lonely at night; or why others may feel scared or anxious at night. That’s also why many feel depressed or weighed down by their burdens at night. It’s all tactics from the devil in order to try and portray that his shadow is bigger than God’s. However, it’s in those darkest moments, when the enemy lurks to attack, that I’m reminded where my light shines. It shines from above for my help comes from The Lord. So, in those midnight moments, whenever feelings of worry, concern, or doubt begin to try to overtake me, I pray even harder, read more, and speak positive declarations over my life through scripture confirmations and uplifting affirmations and mantras.
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT)
As I previously stated, midnight attacks are designed for three (3) specific reasons:
- To stress you,
- To test you, and
- To bless you.
- To show if we’ve learned the lesson He’s trying to teach us, and
- For God to ultimately get all of the glory for stepping in and helping us ward off / battle the attacks of the enemy.
Lastly, once we’ve passed the test, which I’m finding out through my biblical studies usually comes at the edge of a breakthrough, God blesses us for passing the test. How do we pass the test? By trusting in His word, honoring Him with our lives, by admitting we can’t do it on our own, by taming our temperament, and by allowing the strength and power of The Holy Spirit to work in and throughout our lives each and every day. Remember: Our current problems / circumstances ARE NOT bigger than God! This sentiment is something I definitely had to learn for myself through my own personal walk with God.
“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT)
Each time I feel weak, I turn to The Lord and He gives me the strength I need to continue carrying on through the pain. Each time I feel a sense of worry or doubt that things won’t turn out the way I hope for, I press harder into the word of God for renewed guidance. Each time I’m faced with the reality of my financial troubles, I pray harder and remember what The Lord has already done for me and how He promised, in His word, to never leave me nor forsake me. The treasures and land of my ancestors will be mine for I am Abraham’s heir and I have an anointing and an inheritance on my life, just as each and every one of God’s children do.
“And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” (Galatians 3:29 NLT)
“and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.” (1 Peter 1:4 NLT)
So today, as always, I write and share with you my honest and sincere accounts of what’s going on in my life. I do not write these things to boast or brag about myself. I write these articles, blog journals, entries or whatever you so desire to call them, in order to help uplift, encourage and empower anyone who reads this, so that they know they are not alone. We all are going through things and trying our best to figure out how to navigate through this world. Though we live in crazy, depressing and disturbing, hateful times, I’d like to believe that by sharing my journey and walk with Christ with you will help shine a light to someone who’s going through their own personal midnight moments.
So, the next time someone asks you, “How are you doing today?,” be honest with them. You never know what they are going through. Your testimony may be just the breakthrough they need, and vice versa. Maybe what you say to them, you’ll find they may have an answer for you to help you along the way. I truly believe in my heart that trouble won’t last always and we all have a story to tell that can help someone else. Life is so better lived when you know that you are not alone! It’s even better when you find out that someone has been through exactly what you’re going through now, and they survived it and came out on the winning side.
Just with every season, storms have an expiration date. They eventually pass on and sunny days shine brightly once again. The best things to do in the meantime, as we all deal with our own forms of midnight, is:
- To have faith,
- Pray and read the word of God,
- Keep and recite positive affirmations to oneself,
- Make sure we have the right people (friends/family/loved ones) around us and in our corner praying for us and helping us stay focused on the good things in life,
- Cultivate, nourish and maintain a personal relationship with God and His word.
- Be honest with people when they ask you how you’re doing.
- Only then, can we successfully complete the lesson of midnight and graduate to the next level of blessings in our lives.