“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Hope Redeemed, by Randy & Gini Kittle


One of Adolph Hitler’s most successful strategies during World War II was the blitzkrieg — the lightning war. This strategy involved attacking the enemy so quickly and powerfully as to inflict heavy, painful losses which brought discouragement and removed any hope the attacking forces could be turned back. As each victory was won, the story was embellished as it reverberated through the Nazi propaganda campaigns: in posters, leaflets, newspapers, newsreels, and over the radio. Some of the stories reported by the “news correspondents” were little more than outright lies. But the Nazi goals were certain: convince the opposition the battle is fruitless, and they should surrender, for the war’s already over. In some countries huge armies surrendered to much smaller advancing armies as they became filled with fear and despair. The German army conquered Poland in only three weeks. If Poland was conquered in only three weeks, how could smaller countries like Luxemburg and the Netherlands ever hope to resist this mighty army? They didn’t! By the time the war came to them, their armies had no hope of defeating the Germans. They were quickly crushed and surrendered. The Netherlands surrendered in five days, and Luxemburg fell in one day! Over and over again the victories of the Nazis were trumpeted, as any hope for freedom from this oppression was slowly smothered and went out.

Although this plan worked quite well, it had one weakness. It was built totally upon the deception that the German army was invincible. When people received first hand reports of the results of the damage from allied bombing, of victories on the eastern front, or resistance fighters going unchecked, their hopes were quickly rekindled.

The Second World War is a prime example of propaganda being used as a true weapon of warfare. In spiritual warfare it has also been one of the enemy’s ploys from the start. Whether we stumble in sin or we suffer a tragedy in our lives, the enemy desires to take our loss and turn it into defeat. Despair and hopelessness can take the smallest setbacks and turn them into feelings of being completely destroyed. If there is one area you have stumbled in, that is the area Satan will constantly be bringing up before you saying, “You can’t overcome this obstacle.” If the enemy has gained one victory in your life, even if he has been turned back every other time, that loss is the one battle he will remind you about, “I am victorious in your life.” He loves to replay our setbacks before us, proclaiming his victory in our lives.

Lightning Strikes
This is not just some theory, this happened in our lives. Life had seemed so perfect when our first child was born. He was the exact likeness of his father with big blue eyes, so we named him after Randy. Our lives were right on schedule, God’s plan for us seemed to be unfolding before us. When little Randy was around six weeks of age, however, we noticed his cry softening to barely a whimper and his neck muscles seemed to be weakening. We were told by two different pediatricians that everything was fine, that we were just overprotective parents. But when he developed a tremor in his foot, we took him to a family friend who was a neurosurgeon. He immediately detected a problem and little Randy was admitted to the hospital for further testing. We sat around the hospital day after day while a never ending list of tests were performed, slowly eliminating one disease after another. At the end of two weeks the problem was discovered; a tumor in his brain stem. Surgically removing the tumor was the only option. Preparing us for the worst, the surgeon told us that little Randy could die during the procedure. That was the last thought in our minds. We felt confident he would live. But during surgery our 3½ month old son died, giving the enemy a great victory in our lives.

The Darkness Of The Storm
Satan used this tragedy as a triumph in our lives. Grief overwhelmed us on holidays, as we were reminded of the loss we had suffered. His birthday was another day that always brought sorrow and tears. But more difficult than any other day was the anniversary of his death, August 23. That day stood as a tragic reminder that his life had been taken all too soon. It was as if the enemy would remind us that this day was a signal of his victory in our lives. He had triumphed: we had been defeated. Each year it was a day of heaviness and sadness, a day to endure and make it through. When hopes would arise in any area of our lives, Satan would immediately flash this day, the day of our defeat, before us. When we heard a message of hope or read a promise in Scripture, the enemy would replay our loss and proclaim his victory.

Our second child, a daughter named Ashley, was born a few years later. Shortly after her birth it was discovered she only had half of her heart, and we were told she would not survive. She died when she was only a day and a half old. The pain was immense. Why would God allow this to happen? Even some of our friends commented, “Maybe you’re not supposed to have children.” We felt unloved by God, and as if there was something wrong with us because we were unable to bear healthy children. Underneath it all was a deep, desperate feeling of hopelessness.

We were told by our doctor that we should have genetic testing to see if there was a connection between the two deaths. We felt like he said “Maybe there is something wrong with you.” After the tests, the doctor’s conclusion was that the deaths were totally unrelated and unfortunately, as she put it,
lightning had struck us twice. We were physically fine, but our hearts were empty, shattered, and hopeless. We had always wanted children, and now it seemed like those hopes were dashed — broken beyond our ability to pull them back together. Our hearts were sick with hopeless emptiness. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick …” (Proverbs 13:12). God, in His love and faithfulness, saw the brokenness and hopeless despair of our hearts. He came to us and miraculously healed our broken hearts and planted a hope that one day we would have children. He gave us a promise. “For this slight momentary affliction is working for us a far more exceeding weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). The turmoil and tragedy of our lives weren’t the end! They were only a momentary affliction! We didn’t have all the answers, but with His hope in our hearts we no longer struggled with all the questions.

Redeeming The Day
You can imagine our happiness when on the following Christmas Day we told our families we were once again expecting a child. The enemy often tried to bring fear and doubt, many times using other believers. They would say such encouraging things as “Boy, I don’t know how you two can go through this again.” God was so good to us — five years to the exact day that our first child died, August 23, He gave us Anna. Anna’s name means graceful one, and five is the number that represents grace. God’s grace! The Lord not only gave us a beautiful baby girl, by His grace He had redeemed the day of mourning. He took the saddest, most difficult day of the year, and made it a day of joyful celebration. The Lord gave us the desire of our hearts and took away the enemy’s foothold in one supernatural stroke! God had granted us the desire of our hearts, and with it came life! “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12).

On Anna’s fifth birthday, she had a ballerina birthday party, complete with ballerina cupcakes, decorations, and dance skirts for each guest. The grand finale of this party was a ballet dance the birthday girl and guests performed for the parents. The day of mourning had literally been redeemed into a day of dancing.
“You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy” (Psalm 30:11).

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