I will sing about your strength.
In the morning I will sing about your love.
You are my defender, my place of safety in times of trouble.
God, my strength, I will sing praises to you.
God, my defender, you are the God who loves me.
Psalm 59:16-17 NCV
Have you ever heard the lyrics of a song and thought how well they described your life?
I heard a new song this week by Matt Maher called “Your Love Defends me.” This song wrecked me! I apologize for all the personal stories, but I’d like to give you a glimpse into some of the ways God’s love has defended me. Sometimes it is overwhelming to look back and see all He has done over my lifetime.
One of the verses of Matt’s song says:
Day after day, night after night
I will remember, You’re with me in this fight
Although the battle, it rages on
The war is already won
I know the war is already won
I realize Matt is probably referring to the spiritual battles we face in this life, but it reminded me of a flesh-and-blood battle that raged on for more than 3 years as I fought like a fierce mother lion in court for the safety and well-being of my son. After living in an abusive marriage for 20 years, I decided to end the cycle of abuse to protect myself and my 10-year-old son. In the process of a legal deposition, two young men from two different churches came forward and testified to being sexually abused by my husband when he was their youth leader. This new information made the fight for custody even more critical.
I could write chapters on what happened during that time in court, but the most important thing was how God fought for me and alongside me. Every day as I sat down in the courtroom (for 2 1/2 years with an attorney and the last six months serving as my own attorney), I pulled out an index card with these words:
“The Lord shall fight for you, and you will hold your peace.” Exodus 14:14
Glancing down at those words during the court proceedings gave me courage and strength when a multitude of heinous lies and deception were being perpetrated by the opposing party. Part of the battle was about exposing the lies, but the main battle for me was protecting the life of my son.
During the course of the trial, one of my witnesses and two or three attorneys were threatened and our safety was in jeopardy. At one point, we (my son and I) were advised by counsel to leave town for a while for our own safety. I depended on God to defend me and protect us. He did, in so many ways, so many times. He fought for me, and the victory was His.
Matt Maher writes, “In the Bible, the devil is referred to as the great accuser. I think that’s very fitting because someone like him is going to stand up and constantly try to hold the things that you’ve said or done, that reveal any inconsistency, against you to prevent you from moving forward. However God is your defender.”
In another difficult situation 10 years ago, I found myself accused by ministry partners of things that were not true. Once again, in the presence of professional mediators, I had to call on God to defend me, and afterward to provide for me when it was time to move on. He did, in so many ways, so many times. His love defended me.
Matt writes, “I’ve realized that the love of God is not my last resort. It’s not my last line of defense. It’s the first one. Maybe the Christian life is more and more about relying on the defense of the love of God. It is God who stands by your side. It is God who declares who you are and who you aren’t. It is God who speaks over your past and heals it and fixes your eyes on Him in the present and towards the future. My prayer for you . . . Is that you would let His love defend you.”
Two lines in Matt’s song say:
And when I feel like I’m all alone
Your love defends me, Your love defends me.
Whether you live alone or with a spouse and/or family, there are probably times when you feel alone, when you don’t feel understood, or when you’re emotionally worn out and discouraged. It’s an amazing thing to know God is there with you, defending you with his love.
Who does he defend you from in your loneliness? Usually it is from yourself and the thoughts that sneak into your mind that say you are unlovable, incapable, undeserving, not enough, too much . . . and on and on ad nauseam. His love defends you from all the lies you’ve believed about yourself. When he defends you, you’re the judge and jury who decides whether you’ll believe him or not. I’ve found his words to be the most beautiful, life-giving, healing words of truth and love ever spoken.
I hope you will let his love defend you, and I hope you’ll believe it with your whole heart.
AS YOU PRAY:
* Say “I love you, Lord.”
* Thank God for all the ways and all the times he has shown you his love.
* Whatever battle you find yourself in today, ask God to go before you and defend you with his love.
Copyright (c) 2017 Brenda Branson