The Seed of Hope

A gift for tomorrow

Oppression

People cry out under a load of oppression; they plead for relief from the arm of the powerful. Job 35:9 NIV

Exactly what is oppression? Well, in the dictionary oppression is defined as:

1        a: unjust or cruel exercise of authority or power

          b: something that oppresses especially in being an unjust or excessive exercise of power

2        :  a sense of being weighed down in body or mind

Before I can continue, there’s something that I have on my heart to tell you. Actually, there are a couple of things.

I’ve come to realize that at times this blog seems to be nothing more than a journal. Well, in some ways, that’s exactly what it is. More than anything else, The Seed of Hope is a recounting of many events in my life (good and bad), self-discoveries, and epiphanies as they pertain to my walk with the Lord. It’s a recounting of my emotional roller coaster of dealing with life as God seeking, Holy Spirit filled, Jesus loving Christian. It’s a recounting, which in essence, is the definition of a journal.

That being said, I’ll remind you that I’ve never claimed to be a theologian, writer, teacher, philosopher, pastor, or counselor. I’m just a guy who shares what’s in his heart and on his mind because, well, because I believe that God wants me to, and that’s all the reason I need.

Oppression

If you’re reading this, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and assume that you’re already a Christian, or that you’re not a Christian, that you’ve found this site and are trying to learn more about Jesus.

Either way, at some point in your life you’ve been the victim of oppression, and I’m not speaking anything over you, but you will be again in the future. In fact, you may be oppressed at this very moment. Open doors for oppression to enter our lives include anger, fear, doubt, rejection, addictions, and lust.

Now that I think about it, we’re in a constant state of oppression, to varying degrees, even when we’re not aware of it. Sometimes the oppression is so subtle that it’s barely noticed by us; but it’s there.

Our oppressor is Satan.

Yeah, I’m talking about that bad boy again. He’s relentless in his attacks. He never rests. He’s always looking for his next victim.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 NIV

JOY…

was the title of my last post. I closed by telling you that I was going to get on my knees and beg God to restore the joy that I found in my relationship with Him just over four years ago; a joy that I had taken for granted.

Well, once again God smiled on me, and filled me with that unparalleled joy that can only be found with Him!

So you may be thinking “If you found the joy that was missing, why are you writing about oppression?”

Good question. The answer lies in the fact that within days of finding that joy I was being pounded on yet again by the enemy…

On the road…

I had been invited by a good friend from church to attend a conference in Louisiana that was being held for Pastors, aspiring church planters, and ministry students. Yes, I was aware of the fact that I am none of the above, but I also believe that God opens doors for a reason.

Armed with my new found joy and my unwavering belief in a BIG GOD, who is capable of doing BIG THINGS, I accepted the invitation with the expectation that God had something at that conference that would rock my world. (He did, but I’m gonna save that for a later day!)

We were two hours into our drive from Birmingham to Baton Rouge when I received a text message from a member of our team at our hair salon. Her message was quite simple: Are u going to be here this week?

Simple enough, right? Yes, but I knew that what it really meant was “You hired a new person to work in the salon, and you didn’t tell anybody about it, and a lot of people are upset with you.”

Look, I’m not saying that the Satan was behind the message that I received. I’m not even gonna give him credit for the unrest that was the reason for the message. I am gonna say that, just like the lion, he was waiting for me to be rattled by the message.

But I was ready! I’d been anticipating something, some distraction that would take away from what God had planned for me at the conference. Immersing myself in prayer, I asked the Holy Spirit to cover the mind and heart of my wife Jackie, who was back in Birmingham in the midst of all the mess, and to take my mind off of the situation until I returned three days later. He did!

On the road

The drive back to Birmingham was filled with discussions about God, life, the impactful moments of the conference, and our take-away from it. The conversation was awesome, and I was grateful for the time spent with my friend, but in the back of my mind I was thinking about the situation back home, believing that everything was gonna work out. No way that my soaring spirit from the conference was gonna be dampened by what was waiting for me. Again, I was mentally prepared.

What I wasn’t prepared for was a text that I received from our son Christian, about an hour from home.

Taking Stephen to the hospital. Been throwing up since Monday…..

Bam! My guard was down, and Satan knew it. There was a small crack in the wall, a chink in the armor; just enough space for him to get in, to plant those seeds of doubt.

Early the next morning I had a meeting at the salon with the person that had sent me the message. Before she arrived, I quietly sat in our prayer room, asking that our meeting would be a good one. I was totally prepared to receive whatever she had to say without taking offense to any of it. Or so I thought.

Everything was going well until she informed me that some of our guys were questioning my walk as a Christian. I was dumbstruck. These people that I work with, and care about, and worry about questioned my walk as a Christian because I didn’t consult with them on a new hire? Really?

Want a recipe for inviting Satan to, not only oppress you, but pound on you?

Take a gallon bucket of concern for a sick grandson. Add a cup of anger, a cup of frustration, and a couple of cups of hurt, just for good measure.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 NIV

The next four days were a blur. Stephen was still in the hospital. Jackie and I were still hurting over what happened in the salon. At one point she and I actually turned on each other for a few hours, until I had enough sense to take her in my arms and pray for us. Nothing was right. Nothing felt right. Nothing helped. Not church, or listening to worship music, or even sitting in my prayer chair. Jackie was miserable as well, and I don’t know if was from her own hurt, or her concern for me.

Oppression

What’s that? Did I hear you questioning if you’ve been the victim of oppression from Satan?

Have you ever felt as if the weight of the world was on your shoulders, or as if you couldn’t draw enough air in your lungs, or as if you were trapped underwater, or as if you were bound by ropes, wondering all the while if you were ever gonna get through it and if you could survive until you did?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of the above, then you, my friend, have been among the oppressed. And you know that there is nothing pleasant about it.

When you find yourself in that place what do you do?

·         Pray. Pray diligently. Pray consistently. Pray from your heart, and not your mind.

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and I will bring you back from captivity.” Jeremiah 29:12-13

·         Proclaim the victory over Satan that was won when Jesus was nailed to the                         cross, and in Jesus’ name, rebuke Satan and his demons from your life.

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. Luke 10:19

·         Believe in a BIG GOD. Never take your eyes off of Him, remaining steadfast in the storm, and knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that He’ll supply you with all that you need to survive your time of trial.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27 NIV

Pray. Proclaim victory. Believe. Do these three things and the storm of oppression will come to an end. Oh, there’s one more thing: be patient.

God’s Timing

The storm will pass, and with it the reign of oppression. But it’ll be in God’s timing, and not yours. He will bring you back from captivity, but only when He’s ready…

Monday evening Jackie and I were having dinner with our two live-in ministry students, Brooke and Buddy. After the meal was blessed, I offered one more silent prayer to God, asking Him to let this be over. At some point, in the midst of dinner and conversation, I knew that it was over. Fighting back tears, I told Jackie and girls that “This family time is just what I needed. Thank you.”

The next morning I awoke thanking God, as I always do, for allowing me to live another day. I also thanked Him for, among other things, the peace that was in my heart. I spent a few extra minutes laying in bed next to my amazing wife, grateful for her love, her patience, and her unwavering support as I try to live out God’s plan for me, before getting out of bed and heading for my prayer chair.

Stephen went home that day. The joy was back. All was right with the world. This round of oppression was over. I’m sure it won’t be the last one, because I’ll never stop loving and serving the Lord.

But then, I know that He’ll never stop loving me.

 

 

  

 

 

Comments

Linda wrote on 04/15/11 7:51 AM

:-)
Tess Davoren wrote on 04/15/11 9:01 AM

Trials and tribulations come in many shapes and forms. Thanks so much for sharing your story and trials. You inspire me so much. Im so glad Stephen is ok:). I love the way you honor and love your wife- this is such a beautiful gift God has given you. You two are such a beautiful couple. God knew EXACTLY what I needed today which is why he led me to open up your message today. Oppression is knocking at my door loudly and Im trying to tell it 'KNOW ONE IS HOME' LOL. Thanks so much for your sharing & caring. Hugs to both you and Jackie. Luv T.
Tajuan wrote on 04/15/11 9:16 AM

Such a beautiful message. I love you Sam!
Helen Dean wrote on 04/15/11 9:26 AM

Thank you for reminding me of all these truths.
Mary Hamel wrote on 04/15/11 10:17 AM

Oh, boy, did I need this today, Sam! I am amazed at your ability to share so openly and authentically! THANK YOU BROTHER! So glad Stephen is home. PTL!
Laura Rush wrote on 04/16/11 4:25 AM

It is good to wake up at 4am, feeling oppressed, and to come upon this! Thank you for sharing your heart and being vulnerable. It always helps to know you are not alone. Sometimes I think it is hard for a Christian to admit to being oppressed because it exposes weakness. Yet anyone who believes they are too strong to become oppressed or bound because of Satan's schemes, is in for a rude awakening; especially if they are trying to live a godly life and making an eternal difference. God bless you!
Peggy wrote on 04/17/11 10:47 AM

All I can say is Amen. God really spoke through you this week. Love to you and Jackie.
Bob wrote on 04/17/11 5:02 PM

Sounds lke it was a normal week for most people. Sam you just happen to be a child of God who loves and trust his Father, but questions or doubts Him sometimes which is also normal. People use labels to identify themselves like labels on clothes that are always hidden when you wear them and can not be seen. One thing you are though is a son of God and how you use that will determine your label. Sam to me you are a friend and a brother who I trust and love by your faith for God. That is the label that is not hidden.
CC wrote on 04/18/11 12:49 PM

Sam I do not know what I would do if you ever stop writting your journal, since you write the things that we need or are going thru you light my life and hit it on the nail and even I know that the Bible was is the Word and whatever we go thru the answer is there but sometime we need a friend to just spell it for us so that we can understand and know that we are human and that God is there when we go thru Opression and that we will ALWAYS will win over the enemy. I love you and Jackie and am glad that Stephen is well. You know that you are walking and having His Joy and that you are so bless since Satan is really trying so hard to bring you down. Thank you for being you!!!!
Gina wrote on 04/19/11 5:11 PM

A beautiful message and just what I needed. I love you and Jackie both and miss you terribly! Thank you for opening your heart and for being a true messsenger of God. SO glad that Stephen is well. Love you!
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