Every morning I wake at 4:30 am to brew a pot of coffee, feed my dog and sit down to write. Dawn has hardly had a chance to stretch over the horizon, and the birds are only just beginning to tug their morning breakfast out of the dew-drenched grass.
I spend about 90 minutes behind the computer working on my latest novel while the sun slowly illuminates the lawn, the driveway and the horses in pasture waiting for their morning feed. Then I spend another forty-five minutes studying my Bible. At about that time my husband rolls out of bed, shortly before 7am, and starts making his breakfast. We pray together for a few minutes, holding hands and arming each other for the day ahead. I kiss him, tell him I love him and drive to work.
For the last ten weeks, he’s stayed home and hunted for work. It was common for me to come home in the afternoon, ask about his day, and learn he applied to three or four jobs (the application process taking anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours each), did a load or two of laundry (including the folding), cleaned the bathroom, vacuumed the living room, finished reading a book, washed the dishes, took chicken out of the freezer to thaw for dinner and got a bit of home gym time in.
My husband has a bachelors degree in business and marketing, is fluent in English, several dialects of Arabic and even a little French. He has almost twenty years experience in the hotel industry, twelve of those years as Director of Sales at five-star hotels abroad. He doesn’t sit still very well, so ten weeks without work has challenged him.
What I most admire about all of this, is that in this time he continued to pursue his relationship with God with even more vigor than before. He’s transitioned from Middle Eastern city life to north Idaho back country with inspiring grace. Not without struggle, but with faith in God to get him through, and trust in me to be strong and patient with him as he adjusts.
God promises that the work of our hands brings us reward (Proverbs 12:14) and that we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). He never tells us when. We have to trust that he makes all things beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
All that being said, persevering in righteousness is bound to upset the enemy who’s only goal is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). My husband and I are not without opposition and trials. Some days I look at him and wondered how on earth we were going to get through this bit. But the Lord’s mercies renew every morning (Lamentations 3:23). My husband and I have to rest in God’s promises and his faithfulness to us every day, all over again.
Earlier this week he was offered a full time position as an account executive with a good company. The same day he got the news we planned to go to a friend’s for dinner and then celebrate just the two of us. On the drive to this couple’s house, my husband was overcome by an extremely negative attitude. I asked him what could be causing it and in his frustration he admitted, “I don’t know what’s going on or why I’m feeling this way.” Rather than get frustrated with him for not being able to give me an answer, I prayed.
Out loud, I grabbed hold of the authority given to me (Luke 9:1), and rebuked the enemy. I stated my belief and trust in the promises of God, eager to maintain unity of the Spirit with my husband in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3), that God is a God of peace and not of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33) and we stand on that peace, and that God is our rock and we trust in him and his might (Psalm 62:7). The evening went smoothly and his attitude was more positive. Later he was able to explain the source of his frustration, thanked me for my prayer and we held hands on the way home.
Later that night I faced my own battle and felt an overpowering, debilitating cloud of despair. We knew I was being attacked, and this time he took on that authority prayed for me. He rebuked the enemy, praying for peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7), calling on God as our refuge to protect me (2 Samuel 22:3), thanking God for how much he loves us (John 16:27), for the cross and the healing already brought to us by Jesus’ wounds (1 Peter 2:24). My heart calmed, and I managed to sleep.
The battle is real whether we decide to acknowledge it or not. In the past my husband and I would focus our frustration and anger on each other. Sometimes we lose focus and still do. With time, guidance from wiser people than us, and practice, we’ve grown in our understanding of what’s a spiritual attack and what’s simply sin that we need to repent of. We’re not perfect at it, but that day helped me to see what we need to be doing.
My husband, after ten weeks of job hunting and persevering in his faith and obedience to the Lord, has been blessed with a job. The enemy is trying to knock us off our game and steal our joy. To that I say, shame on him. In Christ there is victory, and my husband and I stand not without scars, but in victory. I encourage you to do the same. If you’re a disciple of Jesus, a follower of Christ, take that authority you’ve been given and rebuke the lies. Take hold of the truth.