Growing up, I knew there was a God and Satan. Good and evil. Heaven and hell.
When I became a Christian, later on in life, I came into a greater understanding of the above and what it all really meant.
When I accepted Jesus into my heart and life, and began a personal relationship with Him and God, my perspective exploded.
Not only did I know and experience evil around me but I knew it wasn't the individual committing evil. It was the heart behind the individual.
As a result of wrong doings committed by Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, everyone born after them would have a heart prone to do wrong rather than right. This wrong is also known as sin.
However, a belief and acceptance of Jesus and all He did, an asking for forgiveness for our wrong doing, and asking Jesus to come into our hearts and lives to help us, would change us to want to do good.
I believe, deep within each of us, is a desire to do what is good and I believe that there is good in each person even though they might do what is evil or wrong.
God never created evil. God did create each of us and gave us the gift of free will.
Free will would be our tool to choose between what is good and what is wrong or evil.
I used to enjoy doing evil until I came to know Jesus and develop a relationship with Him.
Once I got to know Him and God, I realized that they were good, loving, merciful, gracious, patient, and so much more.
However, I also realized that while I was cultivating this relationship, there was also someone very strong and determined to do everything in his power to stop me from getting closer to God. That someone being Satan or the devil.
Satan used to be good. In fact, he used to be one of God's favored angels until he got prideful and arrogant about his position and wanted, instead, to be God.
As a consequence of the evil or wrong held in Satan's heart, he fell from heaven and ceased to be a member of God's army. So, he forged his own army and became bent on attacking people. Especially those who chose God over himself.
Last week I was attacked. Viciously and relentlessly, for four days. It was hell.
It wasn't an attack on my physical self like assault, rape, or robbery which are equally hellish for anyone who has been a victim of these crimes. The attack, while very personal, was also very real to me. It was an attack on my mind and heart.
One of the things Satan is 'famous' for is being the father of lies. He likes to mess with our heads and hearts to beat us down.
In the Bible, Satan is described as a lion that prowls around looking for someone to devour (destroy). He does this subtly and, often, without our full awareness.
We may think what is happening in us is just a bad day or a foul mood but it's actually Satan working in our minds to think and believe failure, inadequacy, doubt, fear, loneliness, and more.
Working in our hearts to have bitterness, anger, resentment, gossip, grudges, hatred and more toward others.
Often his tactics work. They did on me. I was completely unprepared. So when a small change happened within a situation I was in, I unknowingly opened the door to feelings of rejection and, next thing I knew, my mind and heart became a battleground. My own personal hell.
A hell that Satan used to remind me of all my deep insecurities and fill me with feelings of inadequacy, fear, pity, resentment, anger, and more. For several days, Satan used my weaknesses against me and I became a pool of tears who was barely able to pray.
It took a close friend, who came to my aid, reminding me that because I am a Christian and a follower of Jesus, that Satan wants to stop me from having great things. Great things that God has planned for me.
That Satan will try to stop me any way he can, whether in making me believe I have innumerable faults or that I'm to have ill will in my heart toward myself and others.
I've never been in such excruciating pain like this and I had never felt so alone in my life, while trying to fight against the lies I was struggling not to believe.
As my good friend continued, I became reminded of many things I had forgotten in those days of hell. That God was my strength and my help, that He loved me, that He is good and that He has the very best for me.
In absorbing those words, no truths, I fell to my knees and wept harder than I ever had in my life while praying equally hard for the hell to end and asking God to help me.
It was in those most painful moments and feeling so alone and so abandoned that I suddenly felt the presence of God.
A presence that came in the form of peace and quiet inside of me. A presence that enveloped me in love and said that I would be okay. I felt held.
In my loneliness and darkness, I felt God and Jesus with me and I cried even harder because not only did my girlfriend care enough to help me but God and Jesus, my Creator and His Son, cared even more.
I had been in my own personal hell but God reached down and brought me out of that hell. He loved me and helped me.
This is why I can't and won't go back to my old life. I didn't have help back then. I just kept drowning. I needed help.
Whereas last week, even though I felt like I was drowning, a helping hand reached down and saved me. The hand of God.
I need God, all the time. I can't get through a day without Him. In my loneliness, fear or hurt God is with me and saves me every time.
Who pulls you out of the darkest times of your life, when it feels like hell? Did you know that in addition to being loving, that God is also our helper? I'd like to hear from you! Let's talk!!