“Some days the chatter in my head is louder and more forceful than others. On those days, I have to quote scripture more often to counter the negative messages. But when I don’t give up, I win.”
I wrote that in last week’s post about fighting the negative thoughts in my head. And it’s true.
This week’s post is late because the chatter in my head was so loud and forceful that I spent all my time fighting for my own sanity, and I didn’t have time or strength left to write.
But I still won. I kept coming back to the truth in God’s Word and I eventually found the peace I needed. This time, He led me to Romans 7.
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
I’d been fighting the good fight of faith (I Tim. 6:12) and pursuing righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness (I Tim. 6:11). But my mind kept slipping back into arguments and judgement.
I finally cried out like Paul, “What a wretched man I am!” And when I went to that verse to see what Paul did when he reached that point of frustration, the answer was in the very next verse – “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
I had reached a point where my fighting wasn’t doing any good, and God’s Word told me that Jesus was there to rescue me and deliver me.
I had reached the end of my strength, but that wasn’t the end of the story.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
God’s Word is very clear that I have to do my part. God has given me tools – natural and spiritual – to fight whatever I’m faced with on this earth.
In my struggle with mental illness, He has given me natural tools of doctors, medicine, and dietary choices and He has given me spiritual tools of His Word and Celebrate Recovery.
But even when I use all of my tools, there will still be times when I struggle. And that’s when I have to just let go and trust that He will take care of me.
Even God’s greatest champions struggled and needed divine intervention to keep going. Romans 7 is all about Paul’s struggle to do what he knew he needed to do.
Daniel was “highly esteemed” of God and he still needed to be strengthened to keep going.
Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. “Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.”
When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.”
So, when I’m using all my tools but I’m still struggling, the answer is to just keep doing what I know works and trust that God will carry me through to the end.
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
I’m not in this fight alone. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are working in me and through me to accomplish their will on the earth. So if there are obstacles in my way – illness, confusion, doubt, or whatever – they are helping me to overcome those obstacles.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He is the God who gives endurance and encouragement. When I reach the end of my own strength, I can rest in His unlimited supply.
How has God rescued you when you ran out of your own strength?
Photo credit: bonnyblum