The Raphael Remedy

You Won’t See the Hand of God if You Focus on the Fist of the Enemy

by | May 17, 2023 | Coaching

It’s so easy to get caught up in our trials and all the injustices we see in the world. The news presents constant negativity, manipulated with their own agenda to elicit certain reactions. The more my eyes are opened, the more I realize that we’ve been subjected to a show for most of our lives. Television does just that—it tells a vision. There’s a reason, after all, that they call it programming.

Now lest you think I’m talking politics, I am not. Style trends, food trends, you name it, are carefully orchestrated to move us in one direction or another. What was cool and in style a year or two ago, now looks outdated and even perhaps, nerdy. How else can clothing manufacturers get us to buy more clothing? Make the old stuff look ridiculous and make the new (quite often ridiculous) trends look hip and cool. I’m still mystified about who thought it was a good idea to tuck just the front of a shirt in. Did you notice how suddenly everyone was doing it? Or the ripped jeans that look like one has encountered a rabid dog? Please, someone tell me why!

But I digress. My point is that those who have an agenda, are very deliberate about what and how they present information to us to get us to feel a certain way and comply. The enemy of our souls is no different. He and his minions constantly focus us on our past wounds, our current stressors, and our fears of the future. They appear big and powerful most especially when they are weak and losing. When they are powerful—they hide in the shadows convincing us they’re not there or not a force to be contended with.

The state of the world today is scary—it looks like evil is winning and will overrun us soon. But if you focus on what’s wrong, you play right into the enemy’s hand and become handicapped by anxiety, depression and despair. The same if you do that with your own personal wounds, disappointments and fears.

Imagine if you knew nothing of the resurrection but only saw the crucifixion? That’s where the disciples found themselves on Holy Saturday. He had told them, but the scandal and nightmare of the crucifixion loomed so large that hoping and believing in something that had never occurred before—a man rising from the dead—was too scary a thought for them. Instead, they hid in fear and trembling.

Understand this, you won’t be able to see the hand of God, if you focus on the fist of the enemy. Terrible things happen in our lives. Losses, disappointments, betrayals, reversals of fortune are part of the human condition. Having anxiety about the future is common and understandable…but exactly what Jesus tells us not to do.

The Lesson of Joseph

In the Old Testament, Joseph, a prefigurement of Christ, was betrayed by his jealous brothers. They plotted to kill him but relented and instead sold him into slavery to the Egyptians. Joseph was naturally gifted and achieved success, until he was falsely accused and thrown in prison. While there he interpreted a disturbing dream of one of his fellow prisoners. When that prisoner was released, Joseph asked him to intervene on his behalf with Pharoah. He agreed. Then he forgot for two years until Pharoah had a disturbing dream. Two years! Imagine being innocent and in prison and having to wait an additional two years to get out?

Summoned by Pharoah, Joseph interpreted his dream that a famine would be coming and Pharoah put him in charge of preparing for it. Once the famine breaks out his brothers and father, i.e. the Jewish nation, were facing starvation and came to Egypt for help. Joseph, in charge in Egypt, toys with his brothers and finally reveals his identity. His brothers feared retribution, but Joseph, seeing the hand of God in this, explained that his brothers meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.

Imagine if Joseph only focused on the injustices he endured. Imagine if he nurtured bitterness and railed against his condition. What a different story it would have been.

Whatever has happened in your life, God may not have ordained the evil intentions of those who inflicted it upon you, but He allowed it for a greater purpose. His story of your life isn’t over. And even when it is over on earth, it’s not over in heaven. Every tear, every injustice, every heartache had a critical role in your life and will be transformed, oftentimes here, and always in heaven.

Perspective is Key

So, what does that mean as you move forward through whatever trials you are currently facing? I think the key is perspective. It may be painful. It may be scary. It may make you sad. You may be grieving. Those are all emotions. Emotions are our natural reactions to events and stimuli that impact us. Emotions are real and they matter. Whatever it is you are feeling, honor those emotions. Allow yourself to feel them and then, and this is key, guide how you express or respond to them with reason.

When you apply reason to guide your emotions, you regain control. You can decide your perspective—how to view your circumstances, what to do to remedy your problems and how to regain your equilibrium. Because emotions can be so strong and cloud your judgment, you may benefit from reaching out to a friend, or a therapist to talk and work through them.

But remember this. Emotions don’t always reflect reality. They reflect only how you feel about your reality. Reality can be very different than how you feel. For example, imagine your friends are planning a surprise party for you. But strangely, no one has mentioned your birthday. They may even be avoiding you, afraid they will slip up and spoil the surprise. The loneliness and rejection you feel is real, but inaccurate. Their avoiding you is because they want the greater good—to surprise you at your party.

God works in a similar way. He allows you to feel alone, afraid, hurt, and rejected. He allows the hurtful and evil actions of others to impact us…but He orchestrates it all for the best.

I can look back on my life at many heartaches, disappointments, betrayals and losses. None of them were good in and of themselves. They were terrible. But looking back, I am grateful for how God used those things to bring me to a better place.

Make a Decision

Decide here and now to reframe your perspective. Remember His mercies from the past. Read Scripture and see how God brings good from evil. When you’re tempted toward despair, stop and reframe how you’re viewing the situation. Don’t look at the power of evil, but at the power of God who will bring good from it.

More than anything, pray. Commit your plans, hopes and heartaches to God. Give Him permission to work in your life and then watch what He can do.

He remains on His throne and He is mighty in power! Keep that knowledge front and center.

May God bless you.

Allison Ricciardi, LMHC
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