We can’t escape the reality of the evil of this world. It surrounds us at every turn. We see it on a large scale throughout our world; we watch as evil unfolds on our TV screens. Almost every second of every day we are bombarded with images and headlines that send the same message repeatedly: that this world is broken and full of evil. We also experience evil on a smaller scale in our own lives. We experience the trouble of this world on a physical, mental, and spiritual level, sometimes caused by the actions of others or resulting from the consequences of living in a fallen world. Whatever the case may be, we often find ourselves in the same place of discouragement. The constant reminder of the evil in this world brings forth confusion and a longing for deliverance. How do we find peace in both praying for protection from evil, as well as deliverance from evil that we may already be experiencing?
A Hiding Place
When overwhelmed with the ever-present evil of the world we often find ourselves hiding. It’s only human nature. But where we find ourselves hiding is a crucial part of our walk with God. I have often found my hiding place in isolation, in pulling back from community and The Church, and maybe even from God Himself. My natural inclination is to surround myself with what I think will bring me peace. I think a lot of us turn to this when we feel overwhelmed. We see chaos and confusion, and we’re frustrated at the continuous descent into utter darkness we seem to be witnessing. So, we build. We make our own hiding place. Brick by brick we construct a stronghold of our own making. A makeshift fortress we’ve convinced ourselves is the key to our peace. Maybe we are unaware of the walls built with every moment spent pouring over social media instead of reading our Bibles. Maybe we’re oblivious to the heavy stones being laid in place as we pull back from community, as we stop asking for prayer, and stop combating our fears with truth.
We are so forgetful. Despite having read and reread the scripture and all of its beautiful promises, the magnitude of those promises often fall on desensitized hearts. He is inviting us in. The God of the universe is inviting us in. He wants to be our hiding place; He wants to be our stronghold. While we are busy relying on self-preservation, He is waiting to comfort us, waiting for us to run to Him instead of ourselves. He is surrounding us with shouts of deliverance. It’s easy to become so overwhelmed in feeling surrounded by evil that we forget who truly surrounds us: God
When I think of deliverance, my mind goes back to the Israelites being delivered from Egypt. After God had led His people out of the bondage of slavery, as they were wandering the wilderness, they became fixated on the wilderness set before them. Despite the parting of the Red Sea, despite the pillar of fire that led them by night, despite the manna that was literally falling from heaven (Exodus 14:21, 13:21-22, 16:31). They wanted deliverance from the wilderness and the wandering. They wanted their own idea of deliverance so much that they seemed to be blind to the deliverance God has already provided all around them. We get so fixated on the wilderness around us that we forget, not only what He has already done, but also what He’s doing in our midst right now.
What we do and how we live as we pray for and wait on deliverance from God is defining in our lives as Christ-followers. So, what should we be doing? We should be keeping our minds stayed on Him.
This is why remembrance and prayer are key in the life of a Christian. When we remember what The Lord has done for us, we can rest in knowing that He has never failed us. It is an intentional act to steady our hearts on His goodness and to acknowledge the manna He has already given us. It is an act of thankfulness. It is the act of seeking His peace. It is living out the truth that we can trust in His way of working things out, even if we cannot see the end to the darkness around us. Not only is it trusting that the evil of this world is not outside of His control, but it is always taking the time to watch and listen for how He wants us to grow in the midst of evil. When it feels like the evil of this world is becoming too much, we draw closer to Him. We rest in Him as He surrounds us with shouts of deliverance. Deliverance isn’t always found in one definitive act but is instead often seen in a series of small acts in the space between, all adding up to a beautiful redemption. When faced with the brokenness of a fallen world on any level (physical, mental, spiritual), we have the opportunity to go on our faces before The Lord and rely completely and totally on Him.
We can have courage in God’s deliverance because His word tells us as much. We are told He is a hiding place, a stronghold, and a shelter. We are told that He provides peace for us.
May we pray boldly and humbly for protection and deliverance from the evil of this world. May we pray for God’s deliverance, not our own construct of it. In praying for deliverance and protection, let us be reminded of all the times before that our God has delivered and protected us. Let it embolden our pleas as we reflect on His graciousness in the past. But may we also be aware of what He is already doing in our midst. In our own lives, in our church, in our community, and in our world. Let us trust in the good work He has begun in our lives and rest in knowing He will bring it to completion. He is a good, good God that gives good gifts to His children. There are parted seas, pillars of fire, and manna all around us. We need only look. It is found in His Word that sustains us. It is found in our times of worship that refresh our souls. It is found in the people He has placed in our lives that lift us up and bear our burdens. It is found in the peace surpassing all understanding in a world that is falling apart. He is a God surrounding His people with shouts of deliverance. He is a God inviting His children to come to Him and rest in His hiding place and find peace in His shelter. Therefore, we can go forward in prayer with courage, peace, and hope because our faith is not in this world, but in Him and His faithfulness.
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