The adversary has spread out his hand upon all her precious and desirable things; for she has seen the nations enter her sanctuary when You commanded that they should not even enter Your congregation.
The book of Lamentations describes a vastly intense emotional and physical struggle the Israelites endured as a result of their rebellion toward God. This nation, God's chosen people, was left ransacked with no food to eat, no protection from enemies, and no comfort from their God. They were alone, hurt, and helpless. People were being murdered or were dying of starvation and sickness. Verse 20 of chapter two even notes that some were resorting to cannibalism to survive. Israel's outlook was bleak; their physical lives were deteriorating, and their emotions were in tumult (1:20.) They were out of hope.
While we may be far from understanding the type of desperation Israel experienced in Lamentations, it is no secret that we all can share in the understanding of hardship. Like the Israelites, we encounter seasons of distress that leave us emotionally disturbed and physically aching. We know what it feels like to have an adversary who spreads his hand over everything precious and desirable to us. God pours out His goodness into our lives, blessing us with loved ones, financial stability, talents, spiritual gifts, material possessions, and eternal love. Yet there is one, an enemy, who wishes to get his hands on the bounties of our lives and claim them as his own. If Satan can steal away from us the proof of God's love in our lives, he knows he can steal away much more: our purposes, our sanity, our salvation.
Unlike the Israelites, we are not bound by law. The result of their suffering was in direct correlation to their disobedience to God. While we must live with the consequences of our choices, we do not abide in the law but in the beauty of God's grace. You see, we have one thing the Israelites didn't have: Jesus Christ. Christ's blood covers our sins, covers our rebellion, covers our disobedience. Christ's blood gives us the power to overcome our flesh and the desire to become more like God. Christ's blood demands our victory, and most importantly, Christ's blood cannot be plundered by Satan. When we accept God's gift of eternal love and eternal life to us through the blood of Christ, we ensure for ourselves a desirable profit that can never be stolen.
While our adversary cannot take the power of Jesus Christ away from us, we can give it up to him. When trials come, when hardships prevail, we have a choice. Are we going to use the power of God's love bestowed to us through Jesus to overcome the enemy, or are we going to give away everything precious God has granted us? When we sell out to our flesh and give in to the lies of Satan, we are relinquishing every good thing that comes from above (just as the Israelites relinquished their rights as God's chosen people.) When we find ourselves in distressful circumstances, we can either continue to allow ourselves to be sucked into them, thereby losing our peace, our comfort, our joy, and our confidence in the Lord, or we can walk in the rights and privileges granted to us as children of God through Christ's blood.
Feeling pain and walking through trails is part of life. That doesn't mean we have to live defeated. Choose today to live in the victory already won for you on the cross.