as joy is the serenity of heaven."
~ John Donne
One definition of spiritual battle might be external and / or internal bombardment with lies, especially in the face of loss.
A particularly fierce spiritual battle entered my life in June 2009. The resulting despair is described in "Despair Part I: A Chronology" with these words:
Nearly incapacitating depression is a daily battle ... I am overwhelmed with belief in my failure of the past, having fallen out of God's favor in the present, and utter futility for the future.
Medication for depression is effective treatment for some people. A counselor suggested it last spring and I declined. By December my dark outlook moved me to reconsider. But I feared that numbing the depression might also numb my passion for God and for people. And I sensed that the Lord had an alternative treatment.
That alternative proved to be Truth immersion.
A well stocked home library, trusted friends, and Google offer plenty of information. But only one source contains Truth that leaves no room for question: the Holy Bible.
Though I spent time in Scripture for study, for wisdom, and for the pure pleasure of discovering God, intentional immersion in God's Word effected changes in me. The lies I'd swallowed were dissolved with healthy doses of God's Truth. I felt worthy to approach God with more consistency and boldness.
Renewal became inevitable.
"If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
~ John 8:31-32 (NKJV)
By January 4, I felt increased spiritual strength. But I still suffered physical symptoms of stress, I had to concentrate on some sort of intellectual challenge to head off a PTSD attack, and profound sadness continued to bring on random crying episodes.
I went to sleep that night sorrowing over numerous personal attacks I'd experienced. The next morning, "groanings which cannot be uttered" pleaded for relief. As I prayed, I understood that I sought some sort of vindication or compensation for the injury I've suffered.
I also realized that I would have no hope of offering adequate vindication or compensation for all the injury I've caused. Sadness for myself was transformed into sadness for others.
My prayer became a poem, "Damages." As I finished composing the poem, I felt release. Release brought profound peace—profound peace as intense as the profound sadness which dogged me.
Now, a month later, the peace has prevailed. Despair has fled. What I have experienced is not a makeover, but a renewal which only the Lord of life could give.
You will keep in profound peace
The one whose mind is fixed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in the LORD forever,
For YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.
~ Isaiah 26:3-4
Prince of Peace, You only allow us to know affliction so we might more fully know Your peace. Thank You for renewal. Please make me Your channel of renewal to others. Please bless hundredfold every person who has supported me with their prayers to You and kind words to me.
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This post is part of a blog carnival hosted by Peter Pollock. You're invited to visit his site and see what others are saying about today's theme: Renewal.
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