I love many of the hymns of the church. The lyrics tell stories of Jesus’ love and His gift of salvation to us. They speak of God’s majesty above all the earth. We hear of our need to seek Jesus every hour and we learn of the beauty of our heavenly home.
Because of my near-total deafness to musical instruments now I have lost all confidence in my ability to sing on-key so in church I sing more quietly than I desire. As somewhat of a consolation I combine two of my favorite pleasures by doing word search puzzles of hymns.
As I work on one hymn puzzle a day I am including praise and thanksgiving in my life in a way I greatly enjoy because, when I am alone in the house, I also make a point to sing the hymn out loud as well!
Today’s puzzle was ‘When Peace Like A River.’ I found every word but one and I had to go over the entire puzzle at least three more times letter by letter to find the name of the great deceiver himself, Satan.
Ah, isn’t that just like Satan to keep himself in the shadows while doing his dirty deeds. It made me recall a time while I was working that Satan and I went a few rounds. Well, I am not sure it was Satan or one of his minions but his fingerprints were all over the weapon.
In separate instances in different offices co-workers misrepresented my skills to our employers to downplay my abilities in order to lift themselves higher and appear more valuable. On occasion they even took credit for my work product.
It has been a priority with me to do everything I do as if I were doing it for Jesus. (Colossians 3:17). My excellent work product has long been my Christian witness. So, indeed, that is exactly where the offensive evil strike occurred.
In neither of these instances was I told directly by the employer that my skills had been disparaged or I would have had the opportunity to correct the falsehood. I prayed and asked God what I should do because I want always to give God glory.
In one office I persevered through a 3 year on-and-off battle but God was very clear in His answer to me – stay silent. He took me to several scriptures showing that He would be my defender and I was to continue to do a great job honoring Him.
That solution only worked because I loved God enough to trust Him for the results. My inner self wanted to defend my abilities and efforts. That my mouth should stay shut was a hard but good lesson for me to learn. God always does what God does best, He shows His glory!
One of the wonderful results of these attacks against my Christian witness was that it brought me to search the scriptures for what defense might be appropriate. The life of David opened up before me – the same David who often speaks in the Psalms of God as his shield and stronghold, his strong defender.
As a young shepherd David was willing to fight the mighty Goliath. He told King Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.”
David said this to assure King Saul that he could physically do the job. But, David wasn’t going to go it alone, he was depending on God because he followed up with, “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”
After fighting bears and lions I am sure David had some wicked looking scars but the victory was always credited to His God.
The lesson I learned is that when I step out in faith and do what God directs me to do He receives the glory. I doubt I will ever get into a physical battle like David but l admit the mental and spiritual battles have been strenuous. Yes, I do have a few scars but as God healed each wound He also made me stronger for the next fight.
I have likewise learned that I have to know God’s word in my heart. I can’t always stop mid-battle and look up a helpful passage. I must also have the faith that God is directing my steps and words.
The hymns tell many stories of faith and perseverance. Every day we live the same faith and stories as many of the hymn writers – their words then become salve to our souls. God gave us the gift of music and it is a wonderful way to memorize scripture and to recall words of strength and perseverance when we need them. Maybe especially it can be a reminder that God is our strong defender.
ED. NOTE: Amy Patsch writes from Ocean City. Email her at writerGoodGod@gmail.com