As I jogged after services last Shabbat, I recognized that there is a pattern to these times I spend with HaShem. I always start out smiling, praising, singing, overwhelmingly loving my Abba, joyous in Him. This goes on for quite awhile. Then I tend to be very quiet in my head and that is when HaShem “speaks” to me in the sense that I see previously unseen connections and insights about something I see along the way or new thoughts related to my times of prayer and meditation while jogging. When I listen in this way, “synchronistically” there will often be lyrics at that precise moment in the same songs I hear every jog that relate to or emphasize the thoughts He inspires. This phenomenon occurs when I have made room for God in the conversation. And it is a conversation, as with you and me. Speak, and listen. Yeshua’s presence with me intimately is palpable in these moments.

As I was with Him on that glorious summer day, I couldn’t help but notice the gnats I continually had to keep swatting away from my face! Very pesky and distracting! The thought was how darkness so often wants to detract us from the light, here making my spectacular time in nature difficult. That insight reminded me of something my daughter-in-law discussed with me this past week.

As you know, my daughter has been missing, and my amazing daughter-in-law has been undertaking numerous initiatives to help find my daughter. Several days earlier my daughter-in-law had shared with me some progress in our search and we both were completely overwhelmed at how HaShem had orchestrated every detail in finding the clues which so far have seemingly brought us closer to finding my daughter.

My dear one asked me if I believed in the devil. My answer was yes, not with horns and tail, but in the concept of an evil force in the universe that I do believe does not want good to prevail, and that often it seems as we draw closer to good and gain strength in our faith, the evil one brings forces to thwart those efforts.

I had experienced that truth even earlier that day. Literally, seconds before I was to lead our oneg, a very upsetting message (not about my daughter) was received on Sid’s phone. I had barely finished reading it when I was to bring connection and encouragement to our community. It actually was surprisingly easy to do so, since I was walking in the light so strongly after a morning filled with uplifting services of praise and worship. Darkness could not keep me from bringing light and good and hope to my community in Him through our planned time together. Yet I was once again reminded of the reality of spiritual warfare.

As all of these thoughts came rushing together during my time with HaShem, I literally began saying aloud to the evil one as I jogged, “I am not afraid of you! You cannot prevail! Abba is stronger than you and always will bring good. He has our backs!” No sooner had I made these declarations of faith, He used the songs playing at those exact moments as if to say, “Yes, little grasshopper, you understand.” An affirmation.

The words played, “I wait for thee” from “Ani Ma’Amin” so perfectly timed. My thoughts that morning were deep in worry about my daughter despite the encouraging signs. As my daughter-in-law had told me on Thursday of the developments in finding AnnaLisa, by Friday, now Saturday, my concern was growing. The affirmation by song reminded me that the evil one may try to slow the pace of finding her, but our Abba has assured me she will be found. I must wait for Him.

With an uplifted heart I smiled, only to hear the introduction for the next song where Marty Goetz states, “This song is a statement of faith of the prodigal son coming home. This is the prodigal song.” My goodness, my daughter. Those words, that song, that moment. Another divine encouragement. A reminder to not fall victim to negativity, to stay strong in my faith. I deeply listened to the words of Marty and Misha’s beautiful “The Plans I Have for You” with new ears, new insights.

It’s not easy to live in a place of hope when life’s adversities strike. Staying true to our priorities – caring for our health, praising HaShem, listening to Him – helps us through these times. As the words of the last song on my line up, “Don’t Let Me Fall Away” played, I related to the words, “When I cry, answer quickly.” So true that we only naturally want answered prayer quickly, and yet so many signs and reminders that our Abba is working it, maybe sometimes so behind the scenes that we can’t understand, but with faith, reminders abound that this truth is real.

Don’t be blindsided about evil. Unfortunately, it does exist. Yet the bigger truth is darkness has no power over your life, unless you let it in through your own dark thoughts, fears, loss of hope, loss of faith. I encourage you to take joy in the palpable, tangible, audible, visual, experiential evidences of HaShem’s miracles that surround and interact with you in each moment. Feel the comfort of Yeshua’s intimate presence.

Listen for Him . . . whose miracles abound in your life.

Shabbat shalom.

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