"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." -Ephesians 3:14-19
There are times in our lives when life is continually on the up and up. You have the new relationship, you got the promotion and raise, and life overall is just good. Then there is the other side of the spectrum where it feels like no matter what you touch, it just crumbles. Relationships deteriorate, work is full of stress and uncertainty, and no matter how hard you try, there is just no way to make things feel right. The funny thing is, a majority of the time, there is not a slow fade from one side of the spectrum to the other. The highest of highs can just be the doorway into the lowest of lows.
The cause of this: We stop fighting.
When we are at the lowest of points, there is a period of asking why, a lack of clarity, and sometimes wallowing. This is when we begin to rely on Christ - seeking His voice in His Word, praying to Him, and relying on His strength over our own. We start to see change and have the strength to fight. We begin to see strides in facing new challenges. Then, God asks us to walk into the smoky valley of the battlefield. We run into the valley still doing the things that got us there. We start to see victories and overcome obstacles. We get cocky overconfident and then stop doing the things that got us there, and we rely on our accomplishments and start to get lost in the smoke.
Once we get lost, there are 2 options: Stop and revert back to what got you there, or keep trying harder and go deeper into the smoke. For many of us stubborn, hungry, high achieving Christians, we love to go deeper into the smoke of uncertainty, further away from the command center, isolated in a corner. With this natural reaction, we will begin to rely fully on our own strength and plans and nothing else. This is when the high becomes the low, and we are stuck fighting isolated and alone. In these times, stress builds, uncertainty rises, patience thins, aggression comes, and we seek other outlets. Our fight has lost direction, throwing punches and swings aimlessly until we start to waver and can no longer stand.
The root cause of this is we have lost sight of what got us there. We forgot that we have a clear line to the command center who can pluck you out at anything. John Piper says this in his book "Let the Nations Be Glad":
"Prayer is the walkie-talkie on the battlefield of the world. It calls in for the accurate location of the target of the Word. It calls in to ask for the protection of air cover. It calls in to ask for firepower to blast open a way for the tanks of the Word of God. It calls in the miracle of healing for the wounded soldiers. It calls in supplies for the forces. And it calls in the needed reinforcements."
We sit with our back against the walls without realizing that our radio is in our back pocket. We used it the whole way in but have lost the sight of the mission and why we even went into the smoke. Once there, we revert back to what got us there. We are guided back through the smoke and see the clearing into what God had planned for us.
In times of fighting and spiritual warfare, we must see that prayer is our direct line to the one who has called us into the valley and will lead us through it.
Our strength and plans are futile without the guidance and strength of the Lord. Reliance on Christ in prayer and in hearing him through the Word will give us the strength to stand up and keep on fighting in every circumstance.