The Seed of Hope

A gift for tomorrow

Blind Sided

Yeah, I’m aware of the fact that the title of today’s post is also the title of the award-winning movie that was released last year. The similarities end there, because whereas the movie was about a football player and an amazing woman, my post is about what happened to me last week, and the first couple of days of this one.

Before I continue, I want to dedicate today’s post to my friend Melanie, who, upon learning yesterday morning that there might not be a Seed post this week, snapped me out of my defeated state by sending me an e-mail that read:

“…shame on me for saying this, but shame on you for letting Satan stop you from posting. Who wins if that happens? AND you don’t always need to try to encourage your readers, even though you always do. Post the truth about what you’re going through.”

I slept on Melanie’s words last night, and I’ve made the decision to follow her advice by telling you what I’ve been going through, as best that I can. I’m gonna write this, not because I want to, but because I need to. I’m tired, and disgusted, and pretty much sick of being beat up this week. I’ve had it with people thinking that they can say what they want to me, or do what they want around me, or take advantage of the fact that I’m a Christian.  What is it that makes some people think that a Jesus loving, God worshipping, Holy Spirit seeking person must to be a wimp?

I do love Jesus, and I do worship my Almighty God, and I invite the Holy Spirit to fill me and work through me every day. I seek His face, and long to feel Him with me and in me, and I try to be Christ-like as much as I can. Be that as it may, there are those days when I’ve just had enough of the “flaming arrows of the evil one,” and I question God’s plans for my life, and I cry out to Him, “God, are you gonna help me here, or what? Can’t You see that I’m struggling here, that I’m hurting here, and that I’m being beaten to a pulp? I’m in the middle of a raging storm at sea, and I’m sinking! How much more? How much more? HELP-ME-PLEASE!”

Sometimes, the storms pass quickly. Other times (and I hate it when this happens) the storms linger. Quite often these storms serve to draw me closer to Him. I believe that some of the storms are to teach me life lessons; that they’re God’s hand shaping me and forming me to be the Christian that I strive to be every day. Some are God’s way of preparing me to attain another level spiritually. And many are God’s way of testing my obedience to Him, and to what He’s called me to do.

During the past week or so, I believe that He used the storms for all of the reasons that I listed above. It has indeed been a very trying time.  

Curiously, in the midst of the storms, not everything has been bad. In fact, God provided me with many opportunities to reach out to others, to share my testimony, and to pray for the needs of several people. Take away the challenges, and it truly was an amazing week. Of course, if we take away the challenges, life wouldn’t quite be the same for any of us, would it?  

So what happened?

Simply put, I was blindsided by life, by people, and by Satan. And since I share everything that God puts on my heart, without reservation, I’ll go ahead and admit that I was blindsided by myself. Yep, you read it right. I did myself in.

You see, I don’t like confrontations. I don’t like being the bearer of bad news.  I hate being the “bad guy.” I love leading people to Christ, or enlightening those who seek to know more of Him, through these pages. (Everything that I do is the result of wanting everyone to know what this feels like.) I gladly accept and desire the role of being a leader in any realm of God’s Kingdom and His people.

I believe that God has also given me the talent to be a leader in the business realm, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a reluctant leader. Why? Because as the leader of a team of seventeen people in our small business, there are times when I must be confrontational, and the bearer of bad news, and on occasion, the bad guy.

That was the case last week. I’d known for some time that there were a couple of people working for us that I needed to “let go.” It wasn’t that they were bad people. Both were classic cases of the right person having the wrong job, or vice versa. I was gonna have to be the bad guy and tell them that they were losing their jobs, because that’s part of my role as a leader in our business. Yeah, I was gonna have to be the bad guy, and fire a couple of people, and it wasn’t something that I really felt comfortable doing, and I wasn’t looking forward to it at all. As a matter of fact, I put off taking action for a long time, all the while knowing that they were hurting our business! Which in turn, made me beat myself up because I knew that I wasn’t living up to my responsibilities as a leader of the rest of the people that work with my wife Jackie and me. The worst part was that it was their actions, and not mine, that put their jobs in jeopardy to begin with. Yet I was the one carrying around this huge weight of guilt for what I was going to have to do.

Like Dominoes

I liken what happened to me next as the “domino theory”, wherein the toppling of one domino standing on end causes a chain reaction resulting in the toppling of each adjacent domino until they’ve all fallen.

My hesitancy in doing what I needed to do lead me to question if I was on the right path in life, which lead me to questioning my purpose in life, which lead to questioning His very plans for me. My life, and my mind, was suddenly filled with chaos. A week that had begun with so much promise was rapidly becoming filled with what I like to refer to as being “crap”.

And that’s when Satan stepped in, using people around me to create even more havoc. There’s something that I’ve learned about Satan. He’s always there, lurking in the shadows, waiting to take us down. If we take our eyes off of God for a moment, or get distracted, or frustrated, or doubtful, he’s there. He’s like a vulture circling the skies, looking for “road kill”, or the weak, or those that have dropped their defenses. He will go to any extremes, using anyone that he can to get at you. Family members, close friends, and business associates are all in his arsenal of weapons. You see, when it comes to attacking God’s children, Satan knows no boundaries. He attacks even the strongest of souls, and when he does, he’s relentless. Given the opportunity, he will pound you into submission.

As recently as last night, I was nearing the point of walking away from everything that Jackie and I had worked for. The attacks were coming, wave after wave, from all sides, and I was just about ready to give up. The tragic part was that I was my worst enemy. I had given Satan the smallest window of opportunity to get into my mind, and he was having a field day.

I went to bed last night in prayer, asking…no, make that begging God to give me help. I was tired, and broken, but I was never going to stop loving Him, or serving Him, no matter what His plans were for me. And that’s exactly what I told Him.

Today

I awoke this morning with the belief that God’s plan for me today would include an end to the chaos that had engulfed my mind for the past ten days. I made my way to my prayer chair in our kitchen and thumbed through my Bible searching for the nugget of truth, God’s Word, that would give me hope for a better day.

I actually found two nuggets, and both are from the book of James.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4  

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

I shared the wisdom and the promise of both passages with Jackie, and made a mental promise to God and to myself to make the most of the day that He’d given me.

A few hours later I received Melanie’s e-mail, urging me to write this post, and challenging me with the question, “Who wins if that happens?”

I immediately began working on this post. No way that Satan was gonna win the day. Besides, the victory was won the day that Jesus climbed on that cross for us. If we keep that thought in the forefront of everything that we say, in every thought that we think, in every action that we take, and in every step that we make in life, we will never lose.

And Satan will never win.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Linda wrote on 11/11/10 6:54 AM

Good for you! I'm very familiar with the kind of warfare to which you refer. And you are so right about Satan - he never stops his efforts to torment us - ever. But he is a defeated foe. God's Word tells us too many times to count that we will have trouble and pain and disappointment in this world. But He also tells us that He will be there with us to take care of us! A wise man once told me, "the right thing to do is usually the hardest thing to do". This post is a victory for God! And you. Love you, Sam!!!!
sharon hans wrote on 11/11/10 8:32 AM

Reminds me of something John Eldridge taught me...."Satan doesnt CARE who he uses to get to you....." Praying for you, missing you, loving you and Jackie!
Tajuan wrote on 11/11/10 8:38 AM

Satan is a liar. The doubts we have as Christians are not of God, but of Satan. He uses those to pull us away from God. I understand. Stepping out on faith and doing what God has put in front of us, whether in business or personal is not always an easy thing to do. Sam, just know God has called you, you have answered and even through the not-so-easy times HE has you right where he wants you. He told us in Jeremiah18:1-4 1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Think of yourself as that pot of clay and when The Potter "squishes" you again to form you into what HE sees as perfect IT HURTS! Yet, when He begins to shape us again, we see the beauty in our new form. Submit to the Potter as the clay does. Even through the pain. Love you Sam. We stand united as Christians to defeat the enemy. You have a troop of warriors supporting you.
Pamela wrote on 11/11/10 8:55 AM

Sam- please don't ever stop posting your blog ! Maybe I don't encourage you as often as I should, and for that I owe you an aopolgy (please forgive me) but I ALWAYS get something out of each and every one of your messages. This one brought me to tears because I too am struggling. Satan has a stronghold in one area of my life (well, more than one but the one I am referring to is the worst of them). I knew if I did not reach out and get help I would never receive God's blessing in this one particular area that I have a need in. I released my struggles to the Lord last Sunday and had to let go of something that was very difficult for me. Since then, the enemy has been relentless with his attacks in this one particlar area ! I mean the temeptations have been almost irresistable. I am holding onto Phil 4:13 with all my might. As I was reading your post just now, it came to me that Pastor Chris's message last night was speaking directly to you ! Your were in despair and very close to giving it all up - those were his words. P.C. prayed for encouragment over us and he broke satan's stonghold over our lives last night. Now was that a coincidence ? I don't think so ! I think it was divine intervention to encourage those of us who are struggling. Please know that I love you as a friend and sister in Christ and that I am praying for you and for all of your situations. You are a great spiritual leader and role model for me - a real man of God - one that I am praying for in my own life. Jackie is very blessed to have you and thank you with all my heart for your ability to humble yourself and share with us what is in yours. God has mighty plans for you and that is why the enemy is after you so hard. You keep up the good fight and know that you are not alone. You have God and your Christian family that loves you. You WILL get through this trial (I hate confrontations as well ;-) and you WILL persevere and God WILL bring you through this and you WILL be an ever stronger person/Christian as a result. So you just hang on and take one day and one thing at a time. Keep the faith and please continue the work that God is doing through your "Seed of Hope". My prayers are with you. Many blessings your way :-) ~ Pamela ~
Jane Franks wrote on 11/11/10 11:00 AM

Sam, I love all your blogs but especially's today's message. A really, really strong message! So glad that Melanie gave you the little shove you needed. We need to make the most of the day we have every day, because we are not promised tomorrow. Forbid Satan to control your day!
CC wrote on 11/11/10 2:51 PM

This is so true I'm going thru this right now, things are hitting so bad, thank you for the message Sam. Love you & Jackie
Kristen Gwaltney wrote on 11/11/10 5:04 PM

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2Corinthians 12:9 Thanks for the post, Sam.
Melanie wrote on 11/12/10 8:54 AM

My dear friend, I will only say this from reading your heartfelt and pain-filled blog today AND from reading all the comments posted herein by those who care about you, In the end, who really won here? I hope you have a wonderful day and a GLORIOUS WEEKEND! I bet some of the weight has been lifted through your obedience.
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