Sometimes I know that what I've lived through helps others. A phone call or a note or a talk that helps another. And those are the days when my grief and hurt and loss don't feel as heavy a burden. Every once in a while, the compassion that despair carved into my soul is the perfect comfort for someone's pain. Then I thank God for the heart he gave me that feels their hurt so keenly...and for putting the words they need to hear in my mouth.
But the same hurts that forged me are the ones the Devil has used against me.
I told someone once that the devil lived in the dark. I knew he did - because that's when he spoke to me.
You are not loved, he said.
God has found you unworthy, he sneered.
God has left you...alone, he whispered.
No one is going to help you, he told me.
You will never make it, he chanted.
In the light of day, I knew his lies for what they were - the great deceiver attacking my vulnerable heart while I was down and out.
But in the dark, in the lonely quiet of sleeping children and a traveling husband...
When all the chores were done and there was nothing left but to be still...
That's when he came. And he hurt me. His voice was accusatory, his words felt like truth. Because don't we all wonder sometimes, what did I do to deserve this?
Then we hear him. He steals in and speaks to our greatest fears and hurts.
Peter likens the devil to a prowling lion. Slunk low to the ground, stalking us...ready to devour us. A lion observes his prey. Attacks when it is most vulnerable. I don't think Peter picked that simile out of thin air. The devil has power, and he uses it on us.
Be wary of the voices that hurt the most. Those are not love, they are not of God. They come from darkness, from our own pain. And if we let them gain the upper hand, they can destroy us.