Monday, July 14, 2008

Through the Oppression

One of the definitions of oppression is "the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, anxiety, etc."

There are times in our lives where Satan has placed us under such heavy spiritual oppression, perhaps with temptation or doubt, that it's hard to fight our way back to the top and see God's hand reaching out to pull us into His stronghold. Other oppression may come in the form of an illness or accidental injury, perhaps even in the form of the loss of a baby or loved one. Also, it could come in the form of depression or other mental illness, etc.

I have a friend who's sister was diagnosed with cancer this weekend. It seems that there are so many people I know or know of who have this dreadful disease. Talk about oppression! Their oppression, my oppression...Oppression seems to abound.

Regardless of the type oppression we face, God has provided us with instruction and hope in His Word.

Psalm 9:9-10 - The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

How often do we keep running on our own, just getting from one moment to the next and thinking we'll muddle through somehow? In times of trouble we are reminded that God is our refuge. No matter what, we have God. Our Father longs to be the One we turn to first. As a refuge and a stronghold, He provides shelter in the storms of life.

What is a refuge? I looked in the lexicon on and found that a refuge is more than just a shelter. The Hebrew word for refuge is "BgXm". Now, that word just *looks* safe, doesn't it, ya'll? The phrase that came to my mind when I saw that was "Big Cross Man." Bet God's never been called *that* before, but I say it lovingly and with utmost reverence. It's written "Misgab" and pronounced "mis-gawb' " It means high place, refuge, secure height, retreat stronghold.

This holds so much promise for me. It reminds me of the promise of God's high place in Heaven, His throne. It reminds me of the promise of His security and that I can retreat to Him.

Strongholds in David's time were usually high up and were fortified. They were strong. They were towers. The righteous ran into them and were safe. David hid in many during his years on the run from Saul's pursuit.

Where are the strongholds in our lives? Where are these refuges? Is there a special map on how to get to them? Is there a special key to unlock the door to get in once you find them?

Although I have what I consider safe places, places such as my home, my husband's arms, my Daddy's presence, my office at work, my one true Stronghold is in my heart. Because I know His name and trust in Him, I know my Savior is always there, ready to protect me. He is Able. He is my Defender and my Strength. He is always present and all I have to do to unlock the door to His Stronghold is trust in Him and call on His name. It's faith - trusting Him to be all those things.

It's one thing to have the faith, to say, "Okay. God you are my stronghold." That phrase doesn't take cancer away, it doesn't bring babies back. What does it do? It helps us deal with the oppression in a Christ-like manner, and reminds us that God is there for us. Let's put the faith into action in a way that we can tangibly see it.

Regardless of what type oppression we face, we must first seek God. The minute we call on His name, we speak His victory over whatever our oppression is stemming from. We run into His arms and into His Stronghold. We are safe. Lamentations 3:25 - "The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;"

When we are in the Stronghold and safe, second, we pray. We spend time in His Word, we seek His guidance, we honor Him with praise and trust Him to keep us strong. Philippians 4:6-7 - "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Third, we stay in the Stronghold, not giving in to doubt, fear or anxiety. Remaining close to God, we are reminded of His truth, righteousness and ability to relieve our oppression. Philippians 4:19 - "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."

Resting in His stronghold gives us time to rely on God to fix what we know we cannot fix on our own. God is so Able. Able to heal, able to know what is best for His plan, able to calm us, and able to give us peace for the journey we are on.

Psalm 91:1 - "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."
What a precious promise. As I abide in God's stronghold, I am comforted by the fact that our God is bigger than any oppression we face. He's bigger than cancer. I have seen Him work miracles in our family and in others, and have seen Him provide grace and peace throughout the illnessness of those I love, and in the lives of their family members as well.

Whatever your oppression is, I encourage you to run to the Stronghold. Claim these verses and these promises for yourself and your family. Trust God to deal with the oppression in a way that only He can. Victoriously, no matter what.


Peggy said...

Laurie Ann... I'm so sorry to hear about your sister! I will start to pray for her & you! I came over to
congratulate you for the Arte & Pico Award...cuz when I was reading it yesterday, I went to read about it and think I forgot to tell you Congratulations!!! I
read who you selected and was so happy for them! Favorites of mine also! When I clicked over here, Your Title Oppression caught my attention...because I believe my mom suffered greatly with illnesses
but also because of a spiritual
oppression! I marveled at the entire post...excellently done!
I learned so much! Thank you!
Ya' see that's why you're a winner!

Don't give into Satan now, he's just trying to ruin your success!
Fight back! Stay strong! Be strong in the Lord for your sister! I'll be checking back! Thanks for sharing so well & be blessed!

Melanie said...

Hi, Laurie Ann! Yes, the Lord is our very best Stronghold.

Love your new look!

Dawn said...

Oh Laurie Ann you just don't know how much I needed to read your post today. I'm so sorry to hear about your friend's sister. I'll say a prayer for her.

You know right now it's just so hard but I know everything you said is oh so true. Thank you for writing this post today girl :)

Love the new look!!!!

Denise said...

I will be praying for your friends sister.