The book of Ecclesiastes teaches us some fundamental facts about life: Life is fickle. Life is fragile. Life is fleeting. And Life is futile. In fact, as my pastor points out in his sermon titled ‘The Facts of Life’, if you are a babe in Christ the book of Ecclesiastes is not the book to read for encouragement or inspiration.
I have read the book of Ecclesiastes several times and each time I have thought the author, King Solomon, must have had a difficult life. His life must have been filled with such trials and tribulations that he came to the conclusion that life sucks….plain and simple. But ironically, King Solomon also penned the book of Proverbs and in Proverbs 3 he reminds us to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to thine own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your path.” So in my interpretation, although King Solomon may have had a difficult life he knew that through it all if he just trusted God, it would all be alright. A lesson I would soon learn.
My First Lady and the women of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church went on a women’s retreat; a four day Carnival cruise. I love to cruise so I was excited about the retreat and excited about what God was going to do on the retreat. The Church Ladies (a group of ladies who became friends then family) decided to stay in Miami on the front and back end of the cruise. For four days we had our spirits fed, we were challenged, we laughed, we cried, and we worshipped and praised God. And in the most unusual way, God let us know that He was there. We were on one of the decks having praise and worship. Suddenly a bird appeared from nowhere and hovered over the deck. Now, if you have ever been on a cruise you know that while in the middle of the ocean you never see any wildlife; particularly birds. But here was this bird, hovering over the deck for a few moments, before finally flying away. It was an amazing experience and all any of us could do was worship God and thank him for his presence.
On the last day of the cruise, before docking back in Miami, we had service. The preacher gave each of us a warning. She said the enemy would be waiting for us when we returned home. Well, the enemy did not wait until I returned to Philadelphia; he showed up in Miami. Not even two hours after returning to Miami I received a call from my dad telling me that my mother was in the hospital and they did not expect her to survive. I had to get to North Carolina. I immediately went into panic mode. Everything that I had received during the four day retreat went out of the window. My mother was in the hospital and she may die.
I did not sleep a wink. I called my dad every hour on the hour checking on my mother. The prognosis was still grim. The Church Ladies prayed for me. I tried praying but could not find the words to say. Thankfully the Holy Spirit intercedes when we don’t know what to say. As we arrived at the airport to catch our flight to Philadelphia all I could think about was my mother and how I was going to get to North Carolina. I called a friend to share what was going on. She asked me how I was doing and I broke down and cried. She said, “Trust God. Do not let the enemy do this to you. Trust that God is going to work it out for you.” After my conversation with her I felt energized. I felt a fire stirring up in my soul. I felt like I wanted to fight. And so I began pacing in the airport talking to the enemy letting him know that he will not win this fight! No weapon formed against me or my mother shall prosper! Greater is He that is in her than he that is in the world! All things work together for the good of them that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose! And by His stripes she is healed! Then I said God, I know my mother is healed. I know that you are protecting my mother and you are keeping her. My mother cannot die. She has to be here for my wedding. She has to be here for my retirement. I stand on your word God and you made promises to me that I know you will keep. My palms were sweating. My fists were balled up and I was ready for war!
My mother improved greatly and was able to come home after a week. But God!!! And it was in that moment that I realized the enemy was after what God was trying to do in my life….build my faith and trust in him. For so many years I lived off my mother’s faith. But God wanted to develop my own faith. The enemy was also after my mind because if he could get my mind, he won the battle. But God promised……
‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed……for the battle is not yours, but God’s.’ ~ 2 Chronicles 20:15