Our blue van disappeared around the bend in the dirt road, with my family safe inside. The quiet of the clearing pressed in on me as it sunk in that I was all alone and defenceless. Looking at the flat tire on the tent trailer sitting behind me, I wondered how long it would take to find a replacement.
The sun blazed down and though grateful for the shade provided by the towering pine trees surrounding me, the heat felt oppressive as sweat began to form on my skin. I wandered around the clearing, stopping to longingly view the lovely waterfall beside it, cascading cool water over the edge of rock and crashing below before it carried on down the river.
After a while, I noticed the odd little fly flitting around in my peripheral vision. I would calmly swat it away, but each time there seemed to be a few more. In the chaos of the tire blowing, I had forgotten where we were and when. We had decided to take our three boys camping up north in June. Black fly season!
As the fly population around my face and head increased, I paced the clearing in an attempt to leave them behind. However, as fast as I walked, the flies flew faster, and I became swarmed. Feeling little bodies crawling and biting the back of my neck, I raised my hand to sweep the flies from my hairline and saw blood on my fingers. Panic began settling in my mind and heart.
I distractedly tried mumbling some prayers and refocusing my thoughts on words from the Bible. However, fear and anger gained on me.
“Where is my husband?” I grumbled. “What could be taking him so long? He is sitting in a nice air-conditioned van and, I am being eaten alive!” my heart fumed.
I was grateful for the occasional gust of breeze which would soothe my sweaty brow and blow away the insidious cloud of bloodsuckers and the slight distraction of the waterfall. However, as time dragged on, that cool flowing water began to tease me, offering wet relief and my gratitude for the small blessings slowly gave way to anger against God as well.
“Why isn’t He answering my prayers! Why can’t He make these biting demons go away?” I complained.
Suddenly, I heard the crunch of tires on gravel and saw a glimpse of blue through the trees. My heart filled with a mixture of joy, burning anger and frustration. The van rolled to a stop in front of the trailer; yanking open the door, I jumped in. Sweet relief flowed over my head and skin like that frothing waterfall that had teased my panicked mind earlier.
“What took you so long?” I lashed out at my husband. “Where have you been? I am bleeding from being eaten alive by black flies!”, I fumed spewing all my pent-up rage and frustration in his face.
This memory reminds me of how I feel and respond when Satan attacks my mind and soul with lies. It is a fiercer battle to fight in the middle of the night, alone, with little to distract me. It is just a whisper at first. An insinuation that God does not care. My mind begins to race with pictures, thoughts and feelings of what has transpired throughout my day and then begins to tumble down rabbit holes, like Alice in Wonderland, of past hurts, betrayals, unkind words and lost dreams.
Anxiety and fear begin to nip at my mind.
“You are not wanted. No one cares about you.”, it hisses.
“What do you have to offer? You are not good enough in any way.”
The lies start to swarm, and my heart and soul sink, feeling the panic grip that I am all alone and hopeless, abandoned to be devoured by the depth of the depravity I know lurks deep in my heart. Hope begins to ooze out of my soul like blood trickling from countless small bites.
The biggest lie that the Enemy would have us believe and drown in is hopelessness.
Once I had cooled off a bit, physically and emotionally, my husband quietly and calmly explained what had transpired.
I had failed to remember it was a Sunday, Father’s Day and the nearest town was also a small community. My husband had driven from one garage to another in search of an open sign. Finally, he came upon a small convenience store combined with a gas station. The owner miraculously found one old tire that fit the trailer rim and replaced it. My husband then rushed back as quickly as he could.
You see Beloved, even when we can’t see it, God is working and, He is working for us. We may feel abandoned, alone and with nowhere to turn or no way out, but we are not! We can trust the Lord.
It is at these times we need to preach the gospel to ourselves in faith. The prayers I prayed were reckless and unfocused. Instead, I should have prayed purposefully, focusing on God’s Word and His promises. During moments like this and in the dark of night, memorized Bible verses are a lifeline of hope and truth. The truth is that we are never alone, never abandoned or forsaken. We are deeply and unconditionally loved and wanted.
That blue van was a refuge of comfort and peace for me as I rested in it. In the same way, God will be our place of refuge, comfort and ultimately peace when we mentally, physically and spiritually rest in His Sovereign power, limitless love and amazing grace. When we feel swarmed by the black fly lies of the Enemy, we can know God is always working and always for us.