The oppression of others can be like lead hanging on our shoulders. That’s how I felt one afternoon as I beheld my patient. He was young and lean. More than lean. Skinny. Like the kind of skinny that comes with drug and alcohol abuse.
He sprawled on the stretcher and chatted with my student. Bemoaned life would be more accurate, and I was behind him tangling with his hopelessness and despair trying to zip me up like a sleeping bag.
Maybe I should minister to him in some way, I considered. But it was brief and fluttered away even faster, replaced by my wondering, what good would it do anyway. And with that I was defeated.
It wasn’t until after we’d delivered the poor guy to the hospital and exited that I remembered something the Lord shared with me a few days before.
Don’t ever believe the lie that darkness and oppression are stronger than my light.
I sucked in a breath and realized I’d fallen for the same ol’ line again. I’d felt the weight (and it was heavy) and allowed all of my passion to be sucked away like a vacuum. I’d counted the kid lost.
I reflected on what I should’ve done and the Lord answered by explaining I could’ve at least spoken blessings over him. Then, once that door was open who knows what would have happened.
A few days ago the Lord brought this incident back to my mind. He began to share with me the importance of our involvement/interaction with the kingdoms at war on the earth.
Light that remains on the edge of darkness is useless, he let me know. The light must advance in order to make the darkness flee.
We are all involved in a conflict. It’s being waged all around us. I was struck down that day in the rescue. I did not advance the light but rather allowed the darkness to overtake me, led by the lies of complacency and apathy. And someone paid a high price for it.
“…fill the earth and subdue it.” –Gen. 1:28 my emphasis.
I’ve often heard Christians dismiss their role in how things play out. “If God wants me to be free then he’ll do it.” And I get that to a certain extent. As I’ve said before, the heaviness is brutal. I’ve not only felt it on others like in the example above, but personally. In those moments it’s easy to throw up our hands and think we’ve exhausted every option and nothing has changed and nothing ever will.
That’s a lie planted in us by a kingdom hell-bent on stealing, killing, and destroying. But lies will be defeated every single time by the truth. In my story, all I had to do was open my mouth and start speaking blessings. That was the truth I failed to realize.
It might be different for you. Maybe there is something more to be learned about the power and authority you carry. Maybe there is a negative behavior at work in you that you can’t see. Perhaps there is something that needs to be given up. It might be something else.
But here’s the thing: Don’t stop pressing on! We don’t get the luxury of neutrality in this spiritual battle. When we are not moving forward it’s not that we’ve settled somewhere cushy but rather that we’re being held back, chained to the ground.
Please don’t take this to mean that unless there are obvious, physical signs of God’s kingdom manifested (miracles, healings, prophecy, etc.) that we are being held back. Many times the work of God in our lives can be subtle. Actions or lack thereof are not necessarily an indication of our progress. I think most of us can tell when we are spiritually dry. When there is no progress forward.
My point is don’t give in to the onslaught of darkness. When oppression hounds us, seek the truth by whatever means necessary. Because a large part of our freedom (and possibly others) depends on us. Get teachings, see counselors, and be ready to follow through with what is learned.
It’s hard. Jesus warned us it would be. We can be pressed but don’t have to be crushed. At times, we’re struck down but that doesn’t mean we have to be destroyed (I feel like there’s a song here). Let’s get fiery and live in the abundant life Jesus came to bring. And then be the ones to take it to other thirsty souls.
Jesse and Kara Birkey