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Monday, January 21, 2019

Facing the Mountain

Here is how the year started off for me. On Friday, January 4th, I finished my work day, having recorded my two hour talk show, thus allowing me to leave a bit early. Before I headed out the door, the station program director stopped by and invited me to join him for a “short visit” with the station manager.

Having lived and worked on Planet Earth for several years, I recognized this meeting before it was held. After all, it was Friday and the final day of the pay period. Now, a last minute meeting? Usually, this does not bode well.

And it didn’t for my talk show job. It would be my final day at AM1160. Time to immediately clean out the office and then to make the dreaded phone call to my beloved wife Rhonda with the news. Painful.

So I’ve joined the ranks of the so-called unemployed. Again. Cost cutting seemed to be the trigger on my release.

For anyone who has been down this road, it only takes a little while for the negative thoughts to begin. As a seasoned citizen, those negative thoughts can become more paralyzing. The job market for those over 65 is not part of the booming economy.

I’m one who believes in the forces of good and evil. The good is from a God who loves us and has been a Provider for me all my life. The evil comes from one who dared oppose God for being God. He has a name. Satan. His mission is to destroy the good and, particularly, to weaken and even kill those who are made in God’s image. That would be people like you…and me.

The tactics of the meister of evil become more visibile when we are hurting. That’s when the voices are more noticeable. Their familiar messages are there to question whether there is a good God who cares and to create a mountain of self doubt in the struggling soul.

This is when we must rely on something greater than ourselves. We must trust in the promises of the Good King and the fellowship of those who can uphold us through prayer and encouragement. We must be trained to keep an eye out for the attacks that will be heading our way when we are especially vulnerable in life.

Those attacks come anytime we have faced a loss, or defeat, or life isn’t going well. Sometimes these voices tell us we’ve been wronged and so we want to retaliate. If we are hurting, we’re tempted to alleviate the pain by pleasure in ways that aren’t helpful.

Among the worst attacks are the ones that get really personal. These are the voices that tell us we’re finished. Or that we’re under-qualified or weak. A really dark voice may tell us that life isn’t worth living. The spiritually mindful person will recognize these voices for what they are—falsehoods. And they need to be met head on.

Are you hearing these kinds of subtle messages in your life? Are you going to believe them? As former President Bush 41 might say, “Not gonna do it.” I know where those voices are from. They’re not from the God who loves me and has brought me faithfully this far in life.

In the Bible, the prophet Samuel set up a stone of remembrance of God’s faithfulness. It was called an Ebenezer. Its message was this: Til now the Lord has helped us. (1 Samuel 7:12)

Here’s my message to you: Don’t let the mountain of self doubt cripple you. Resist the evil one. After a while, he’ll get tired of you. And leave.

In tough times, affirm God’s abiding love. That’s a voice that will carry you through.

Develop this attitude and you’ll become a skilled “mountain” climber.

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