12 For our struggle is not against human opponents, but against rulers, authorities, cosmic powers in the darkness around us, and evil spiritual forces in the heavenly realm. Ephesians 6:12 (ISV)
I rarely start my blog posts with Bible verses, but today, it is most appropriate to do so.
Last night, my husband and I were faced with a fight. Not a fight with each other, but with the fight of our lives and for our lives.
Best of all, WE WON!
Rather, God won the battle for us.
This fight didn’t come as an illness, or an accident. It didn’t come as trouble with our kids, or anything like that.
This battle came as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, or rather, as the enemy dressed in an offer that looked very much like answered prayer.
As most of my faithful readers know, my husband is a police officer. As of last July, he’d spent 25 years working in patrol on midnight shift. Last December he turned 50, making him eligible for retirement.
After a great deal of discussion, financial figuring, stress, tears and prayers, we made the decision that he would retire.
The 12 hours shifts he’d been forced to work since 2014 were killing him, and we knew he couldn’t do them any longer.
It would have been better for us financially if he could have made it to July of 2016 to retire, but the 12 hour shifts were just too much.
He issued a letter of resignation, he was in touch with Human Resources, he contacted the union rep, parties are planned, going away food was ordered…. the list is huge.
We were so relieved that he was done. We had complete peace about the decision, and we were very excited to start the new chapter of our lives.
Then came the phone call. “Eight hour shifts….blah, blah…work until August….blah, blah….train the rookies…blah, blah…”
WHAT? After all this time, less than 48 hours before his VERY LAST SHIFT EVER, you offer him what he’s been asking for for the last 15 months?
We talked some more; dual incomes, more money, more accrued sick time, more accrued vacation time, more time with fully paid benefits, hitting the 26th anniversary and receiving the pay increase for it were all very tempting “pros” to the argument of staying.
Then, we discussed the “cons” – midnight shift on patrol, gone 5 nights a week, the dangers of the job, officers being ambushed and murdered, general hatred toward the police from several segments of the population, possible lawsuits, and all the other possible problems patrol officers face – we were frazzled and unsure.
So, I prayed. “Lord, I praise you for you are worthy. Help me now, Father God. Help me find peace in the right decision. Give me wisdom to know what we should do. Lord, please help.”
We talked some more, and suddenly I was overcome by the Holy Spirit and began to cry.
“You don’t owe them anything.”
“I am getting the sense that if you go back, something worse than your wreck in 2012 is going to happen.” (He was hit head-on by a DUI and had to have surgery on his ankle. He’ll likely never run a 6th marathon due to the long-term injury he sustained).
“Be done. Just be done. You are more valuable to me here at home than any paycheck.”
“This is why I went back to work, so that you could retire and be home.”
That did it. Discussion was over.
How was this the fight our lives? Very quickly, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that this wasn’t about working, or not working. This battle was about trust and faith.
In whom do I trust? A village paycheck, or God? A regular shift, or God?
Relinquishing control over money is one of the hardest surrenders nearly every Christian faces.
I had to trust that no matter what, the LORD has always and will always provide for us.
We were clearly led to decline the offer and have him retire now.
Why? I don’t know for sure, but in my spirit I know it’s because God is keeping him from harm and asking us to trust Him.
That special offer was an enormous temptation, and I truly believe there was nothing but good intentions behind the offer. Because of that, we almost gave in to that wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The lesson here is that Satan doesn’t come to us as a horned, red, forked-tongue, pointy-tailed, pitchfork-wielding bad guy.
That great liar came to us dressed up in a neat and pretty package that seriously tempted us to give up our freedom, our peace and possibly our future.
One simple prayer, one moment of crying out to God – after years of being in His word – gave me exactly what I needed.
Peace. God’s perfect peace, to be exact, and I’m so grateful.
So, get thee behind me Satan, for you have no place here. The battle is already won. I resist you, so you must flee from me. Praise God!
Jesus says: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (ESV)
Source for both Bible verses: Biblegateway.com
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