A Divine Wrestling Match
Jan Darrow Geist, March 15, 2006
See also Reluctant Sailor

For a twelve-year period of my adult Christian life I lived in rebellion that played itself out in my life as pride, fear and distrust. How I got there is another story, but it's true that while I was a child of God, I was not acting like it, or acting upon it. I was a sham on most accounts. I'm certain that some observers of my life have discounted Christianity because they looked at my version of it. My marriage suffered, my children lost heart, my friends and family looked on in despair. But believe me when I say, there were none in more despair than I. I was the walking dead and a misuse of good dust. Looking back at that time sickens me for the waste that it was.

Sadly, when I had no other options, I finally made the right choice, and let Him re-take control of my life. How I thank God that we are allowed course corrections. I praise Him for letting me live to see the complete turn-around in my faith-walk.

Here's the short cut to any victories that I have since had: Pride is losing its battle, as I believe God is who He says He is. Fear has foundered, as I believe in God's ability to do what He says He can do. Distrust has lost ground, as I believe in God's love for me.

Here is what I know: His mercies are incomprehensible! His grace unfathomable! But...the caveat to all this mercy and grace—and the accompanying peace, hope and joy—was the simple instruction to me in His word: Believe. This truly is a matter of my will, of my obedience: to just believe.

In the midst of those awful earlier despair-filled years my dad used to call and quote God's word. He believed it. He lived it. He was desirous that these words of truth would re-order the dis-orders of my fear- and anger-filled mind.

Today, as an exercise, I wrote out Daddy's favorite verses of hope. And then, as a challenge to my faith, I rewrote them from the point of view proffered by our enemy. (I had to look no further than my own previous life to comprehend the depths that we go to buy into Satan's lies.) I can easily recall the steady music of my daddy's voice as he read these words...words of comfort, certainly—but more importantly, words of unbreakable promise.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says:

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for Me in earnest, you will find Me when you seek Me."

Satan would seek to defeat us with his version:

"You were created on a whim, and by now you are surely aware that there is no direction for your life. You are on your own, and you will mess up repeatedly! Much of what you will attempt in this short life will be frustrating, fruitless and demeaning. You will vacillate between terror and worry and there will be little that you can achieve of lasting worth. You will ache with the endless tedium of your existence. You are doomed to live today in the hopelessness of your yesterdays, for there is no reason to believe that things will ever change. You can count on never being satisfied or at peace. Those around you will continually disappoint you. Disorder, rancor, grudge-holding and blaming will define you and you will slog slowly along into final disaster. You have made your bed and you and your family must lie in it.

"There is no greater power or wisdom than yourself, so you should listen to your own advice and do and say what pops into your desperate mind. You can take pride that those weaker than you will surely follow your lead. At the same time embrace hypocrisy! Become sanctimonious!

"And don't bother looking for rescue in any direction...it won't come, because there is no one who cares. While you're at it, just surrender to that particular tenet."

This is a way of life I am no longer subscribing to. I'm in the wrestling match of my life, and God is winning a day at time, an hour at a time!