As I am writing this portion, tears are welling up in my eyes as I recall a very painful season in my life. The year 2013 was the worst year in my entire 39 years of ministry. I was under severe attack from the combined strengths of the spirits of Ashtoreth and Jezebel. I felt exactly as the prophet Elijah felt: fearful, intimidated, threatened, in despair, despondent, filled with thoughts of being forsaken by God and suicidal. One day I sat down and seriously thought that since even God was not speaking to me about my situation and it seemed that He had forsaken me completely, why should I live any longer? I thought of going to Tibet to embark on a one-way trek into the wilderness where I could just die of hunger and thirst…
— Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj
[Culled from his book, ‘Elijah is Coming’]
The truth is, a lot of the time, this [kind of experience described by Sadhu in the excerpt from his book] happens to many of God’s people. This is where the very huge importance attached to church and family comes in. This is what the church was about.
The Bible tells us: Be clear-minded and alert. Your opponent, the devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Resist him and be firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering (1 Peter 5:8-9)
Knowing that your brethren all around the world are going through similar things, and watching and learning from them as to how they manage the situation, will contribute to your being strengthened.
In addition to that, you have the assurance of winning as long as you have warriors fighting with you. So David could be all battered, and there could be soldiers in his army that are weak, but the ones that are strong would bear the burdens of the weak.
I want us to know very clearly and with full awareness that people come under seasons of attacks, demonic attacks, depression, and more. That’s where some people start feeling depressed and have suicidal thoughts, thoughts of giving up. Some people binge eat, and others yield to sin in an attempt to drown out [those feelings]. It’s usually a function of past habit. They try to drown out the sorrow, pain and attacks with activities and/or sounds.
None of those reactions should be the case. The proper way to react [to these attacks] is to PRAY. You should pray and lament to God, like David did. You don’t react by going to sleep. That’s what the Lord Jesus told His disciples. The Bible tells us: “He took Peter, James, and John along with him, and he began to feel distressed and troubled. So he told them, ‘I’m deeply grieved, even to the point of death. Wait here and stay awake.ʼWhen he went back, he found his disciples asleep. ‘Simon, are you asleep?ʼ he asked Peter. ‘You couldn’t stay awake for one hour, could you? All of you must stay awake and pray that you won’t be tempted. The spirit is indeed willing, but the body is weak.ʼ” (Mark 14:33-34, 37-38)
Jesus knew His disciples were weighed down with grief and such feelings, as a result of the things He had told them. They were coming under attack, and they reacted by sleeping. Some people sleep; they lock themselves in, and they sleep.
For some who can afford it, they would eat a lot of ice-cream or icing. Some people plop themselves in front of a television screen. All these are attempts to drown out the feelings. Some people’s attempts at ‘drowning out’ are worse than some others they go on to sin very openly. Some binge-watch; they resort to watching one thing after another.
So there are all these different things that people do, but we have to make a choice. Ask yourself: “What am I going to do when I’m under attack?” Will you go into declaring things like:
“I wish I can just die”
“I wish I wasn’t born”
“I’m tired of this life”?
It’s easy to hear someone say these things, and wonder, ‘How can you even say something like that? Really, how could you?’
But if you think back, you’d see that there were times when you felt such things [without saying them]. Depending on your growth level, self-control and past victories, you may not say it out, but you feel it.
So these things are usually attacks of the devil; they are usually direct witchcraft attacks. This is really how it works against children of God. It works differently for those who don’t have the Lord; the devil can hit them with anything.
For children of God who are going through [seasons of] strong discouragement, I believe that we should really take great hope. It is a beautiful thing to know, and be assured of what you believe.
There’s a lot of encouragement that comes from knowing that we are not on our own. We should take courage in this, and be assured that God is with us; we are not alone.
We are in a battleground. Picture some of these movies like ‘Avengers’ ‘Lord of the Rings’ that depict good people seeming to be hopeless, overwhelmed and defeated — until the tide turns. This is what we should keep in our minds. These are the lessons we were to draw from watching those movies; they remind us that those who endure to the end get saved (Matthew 24:13). That’s where endurance comes in. It is super important.
Typically, children of God who are weaker, younger and less-disciplined tend to resort to sin during these times [of discouragement]. They misbehave; some go back to old flames. The devil comes up with all sorts of things to deceive them. He’ll tell them things like, “[You’re in this situation] because of this new life you are living.”
[Even] those who have made a culture of living for God will be tempted, with other things.
[It is very important to] note that you [typically] begin to have those feelings of hopelessness and discouragement before you enter a new phase. That’s the exciting part!
When it seems so hopeless, Mordecai, get ready — you’re going to take Haman’s place; you will be the King’s right hand (Esther 7:9-10, 8:1-2, 10:3).
When it seems so terrible, Esther, the King will favour you (Esther 4:11-16, 5:1-2).
When it is so horrible, David — specifically referring to the matter of Ziklag — that you come back and all the families in your camp have been kidnapped, you’ll recover them all and have a lot of plunder (1 Samuel 30:3-6, 18-20). David had so much plunder that he was able to share some out to the elders of Judah (1 Samuel 30:26). He could go around giving gifts. All of this came from an enemy hit!
Usually, when wise people see things go very sad and bad, they begin to get ready for something good.
Therefore, everyone should know these things, and rouse themselves immediately.
When you get attacked by discouragement, the primary thing to do is pray. You pray and lament to God, like David did — but you don’t go sleeping, binge eating, watching movies and all that [to suppress your feelings]. We must sit up and be like soldiers. Be brave and courageous, and start praising God in advance (1 Corinthians 16:13).
— Pastor Ita Udoh
[18th January, 2021]
© God’s Lighthouse 2021