Can I make a confession?
When the song “Surrounded” by Michael W. Smith came out, I wasn’t a huge fan. I didn’t necessarily dislike it, it was just so simplistic and repetitive! But that song, along with “Waymaker,” would soon hold poignant meaning in my life.
But let’s go back a few months before I ever heard the song.
February brought one of my favorite annual events: South Texas’ ladies LUV conference in San Marcos, TX. Sis. Wanda Chavis and Bro. Raymond Woodward were our speakers, and for the first time, I was part of the conference praise team. I was excited to experience the event in a whole new way!
As always, the conference was wonderful.
On the last night, Bro. Woodward spoke, and prayer broke out before altar music even started. Though life was going beautifully for me, I found myself being drawn into a deep travailing prayer with only a light impression of the general subject I was praying for.
At some point, the music kicked up. The praise team had gone up to the platform, but I kept on praying. Suddenly, I was on my face, my cheek pressed against the scratchy carpet, gut-wrenching sobs lurching from someplace deep inside. Intense prayer gripped my body.
I don’t know how long I prayed. In some
All at once, something began to happen.
It was as if I was somehow “brought away” from myself–as if I was aware of my surroundings apart from actually being there. The words the praise team sang leaped out at me:
Even when I don’t see it, You’re working
Even when I don’t feel it, You’re working
You never stop, You never stop working
You never stop, You never stop working
As certainly as I knew my own name, I knew that God was promising them to me:
“Jennifer, even when you don’t see it, I’m working.”
I don’t understand, I thought. Everything’s wonderful in my life. Why would God tell me this?
But then an intense sensation of His love drenched me, and I could do nothing but weep. “I love You,” I cried over and over, my heart breaking with beautiful yet overwhelming feelings.
“He loves you, too,” I heard a lady say, and she put a lace-trimmed hankie in my hand.
Though I didn’t understand why God would tell me He was working when I didn’t have any big needs, I tucked the experience and the feelings away in my heart. I left that ladies conference in awe that something wonderful had happened. I washed the hankie the lady at LUV had handed me and tucked it away in the back of a dresser drawer. Many times over the next few months, I thought back to my ladies conference encounter with a sense of wonder.
And then one day, it happened.
The most horrific experience of my life.
I’m not at liberty to discuss the details. But the very moment the terrorizing realization of what was happening washed over me, a certainty fell over me as well: This is what LUV conference was about. And you are going to be okay.
Though I never completely lost sight of that promise, it didn’t take away the tears and pain of the days ahead. And yet, through the pain, there would also be countless times of inexplicable peace.
There would be the weeping when I accidentally came upon that hankie tucked deep in my dresser.
There would be the deep sense of peace that was with me every morning, for many days, upon waking.
There would be the amazement I felt as I watched God absolutely transform areas of my life that I hadn’t even realized were sub-par.
There would be a revelation of redemption so beautiful that at times, it would literally cause my breath to catch.
There would be the tears that would flow from deep down every time I realized that yes, though I couldn’t see it — and even though I didn’t know I needed it! — God had been working for months on my behalf.
The most terrible thing that had ever happened to me also became the most amazing thing.
God was on my side.
Surely, the enemy had once laughed and smirked over my oblivion as to the havoc he planned to wreak in my life. He’d thought I was surrounded — and he was right:
I was surrounded by God!
And this is the privilege of being a daughter of the King
Of having a daily relationship with Him.
Of giving yourself to travail and intercessory prayer.
There was a time when the song “Surrounded” meant little to me. But not anymore.
A love for the God who loves me back with a deep, unshakable love.
This is how I fight my battles.
A while back, I removed the hankie from my dresser drawer and hung it in my closet where I now see it regularly. Every time I see it, I’m reminded of David’s words when he was offered the sword he’d once used to slay Goliath:
“There is none like it; give it to me” (I Samuel 21:9).
I have seen Goliath fall. The weapon that brought him down was my devotion to the very God who runs the universe and controls the nations.
And there is none like it.
This is how I fight my battles!