A Dark Season
A Dark Season
By Emily Buckley
The unwelcome thoughts came barreling into my mind again—“You are a bad person. You are going to do bad things. You shouldn’t be trusted.” They repeated again and again, on a seemingly never-ending cycle.
I sat still and took the mental beating, tears in my eyes as I struggled to not believe the words Satan was attacking me with. I knew that if I were successful this time, I would not get much of a reprieve before he’d be back again. We’d been playing this game for a long time, and I was losing.
Months earlier, I’d had a random thought about a negative childhood experience pop into my head, and that was all the headway Satan needed. Suddenly, I was obsessing about this experience, about what may or may not have happened, and the enemy used my doubts to insert his lies into my thought process. It didn’t take long for those lies to become so ingrained into my thinking that I had a hard time distinguishing what was real and what was not.
My husband, sweet, godly man that he is, was faithful in listening to and praying over me during this time. He was so good to remind me that I was a victor in Christ; Satan could attack me all he wanted, but he wasn’t going to win. And while I appreciated his words and knew they were true, I had a really hard time believing them. Victory felt far away because God felt far away.
One day in the midst of this difficult season, God brought to my mind the phrase “hedge of protection.” Growing up in church, I was familiar with the phrase and knew it meant that He would protect me. I sensed that I needed to meditate on that phrase. I closed my eyes, and God gave me one of the clearest visions I’ve ever had in my life (not that I’ve had many, mind you).
There I was, standing in the middle of a literal hedge. The tall bushes formed a complete circle around me, each one packed right next to the other. And standing in front of me, holding a flaming sword, was Jesus. I could not see His face, but I just knew it was Him. Suddenly, something dark managed to squeeze in-between the hedge bushes and came straight towards me. Keeping me behind Him, Jesus hefted the flaming sword and cut the darkness down. And when more dark things kept coming our way, He kept cutting them—He never got tired or left me defenseless.
Needless to say, I was crying for a different reason when I opened my eyes. God did not have to give me that vision to prove my victory; He has already given me all the proof I need in His Word. However, He chose to give me that gift anyway, and I am so, so grateful.
For there on out, any time I would hear a thought in my head that I knew was from the enemy, I would go back to the vision He’d given me, and I would feel hopeful instead of defeated. I also held on to these verses with everything I had in me:
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV).
It did take a few more weeks and another outpouring of the Holy Spirit, this time through a book, but I finally reached a point where I accepted and felt my victory in Christ. God never gave up on me during this season, even in the times when I did not believe what I knew to be true. He revealed Himself to me in great and mighty ways, ways that I do not deserve on a good day, much less in times of doubt and struggle.
He kept drawing me back to Himself, and because of that I embraced my identity and victory in Him. The enemy can never have me because I belong to Jesus. My victory has already been assured, and it will be true for eternity.