A Tidbit for the Trodden Down
trodden: walked on . . . crush[ed] or flatten[ed] with the feet . . . pressed down into the ground. (Google)
Who's feeling pressed down today? How about crushed? Flattened? Walked all over?
Is your hand up? Hey, no shame. Mine is, too. Satan has been hard at work in me this week, stirring up struggles I just want to be done with but can't seem to shake, especially when I'm too tired to fight back.
Jesus talks about the downtrodden in the parable of the sower, Luke 8. A farmer tosses seeds into the ditch and they don't have a chance: they're "trodden down" by traffic, carts and pedestrians, donkeys and soldiers and townsfolk, and what's left is swept up by birds. Those seeds are those who hear the Word of God and let Satan snatch it away, let him crush that truth down into the dirt to be swept off at the first sign of difficulty.
So for those of us feeling downtrodden, what kind of danger are we in?
Satan uses exhaustion and shame, self-pity and regret and fear and depression to crush us, but that's just the first phase of his plan. Crushed and flattened, we are vulnerable to his fiercer attacks—the onslaughts of doubt, the blitzes that shake us to the very foundations of our faith. Crushed and flattened, we forget to train in the faith; we neglect the defenses of prayer and worship that fortify our hearts against evil. Crushed and flattened, we are weak. And that is exactly what the enemy wants.
Feeling trodden down is not a sin. It's life. It's a messy, bone-wearying part of life in a messy, fallen world. But it's important to remember that in the times we feel "pressed down," we have a choice: we can let it play into the enemy's hands, throw up our hands and say, "Okay, you win."
We can take a look around and see being trodden down as a chance to be down on our knees, looking up to heaven. We can remember Christ's promise that the poor in spirit—those who see and feel and embrace a desperate need for him—will inherit the Kingdom of heaven. We can remember that being tested is a part of being perfected, and when Satan swoops in to snatch us away, he'll find a shock.
We are downtrodden, but we are not flattened.
We are pressed down, but we are not crushed.
We are tired, weak, imperfect, but we are victors.
Jesus loves the trodden-down. He's been there himself. And he's there with us now.
So look up. Give thanks. Love Jesus. Be blessed. This, too, shall pass, and you'll be stronger when it does.
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