The only way to avoid self-pity is by rejoicing in something greater.
In a season where it seems the devil has had a good laugh at what he can pull next to wear away at my devotion, the only thing I can strive to do is laugh at him.
Laugh at him? Seriously? Seriously. Meaning that when he throws his best punch, I want to be so prepared that even two swollen eyes can’t take my eyes off of what I’m really fighting for.
As long as my security is in my circumstances looking promising, I’m not doing anything but dodging punches. And that can only get me so far.
I’ve taken a couple solid hits lately. One at a time, they’re not so bad. But when I’m already limping around the ring with a bloody lip and seeing spots, I’ve got to admit that I’m a little afraid for whatever is next. I mean, I’ve played a lot of Wii boxing, and I know that sometimes you think you’re going to recover from that last headshot, but you don’t.
“Wherever you hear the trumpet sound, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us!” –Nehemiah, the prophet
“Then the Israelites were terrified and cried out to the LORD for help…But Moses said to the people, ‘Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and see the LORD’s salvation He will provide for you today for the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you must be quiet’” –Moses, the prophet
“So I said to you: Don’t be terrified or afraid of them! The LORD your God who goes before you will fight for you, just as you saw Him do for you in Egypt. And you saw in the wilderness how the LORD your God carried you as a man carries his son all along the way you traveled until you reached this place.” –Moses, again.
The one thing I consistently fail at is letting God fight for me. I love to think that I’m training up to be able to fight on my own! It gives me some purpose—what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?! It’s the “If I can make it through this, I can make it through anything” kind of mentality.
Which is good, and helpful, and even mostly true. But in Scripture when we read about fighting, battling, strength, any of that solid imagery, it’s always rooted in the idea that the strength comes from the LORD! Because the battle is HIS! And it is HE who has been fighting it the WHOLE time!!!
It’s not that simple though.
Yes it is. Don’t overcomplicate this, Heather. You are too weak, too easily distracted, too freaking human to ever win any kind of match or battle or even a verbal fight! Hello, even our verbal fights have to be won with GOD’s Word.
I am convinced I will be learning this in new capacities my whole life, but it does at least help me explain a bit of the chaos going on. No, it doesn’t give me any answers. No, I don’t have any more idea of a next step or any glimmer of resolution in any aspect of this season.
But I do have the promise that it was never me who was going to win this—or any—battle in the first place. Sometimes you need the reminder of how much you aren’t capable of. Paul did. (2 Cor 12:5-10) Job did. Read his book. (Or just read the last 3 chapters.) We struggle until we remember that we are human, and then we remember how wonderful our God is—and how much strife we could have saved ourselves from the beginning…(That’s the moment when I see myself as the janitor from Scrubs after he asked Elliott out hitting his head on the table saying over and over “stupid janitor…stupid janitor….”)
But then I come back to these questions: Does God really fight for me?
Well yes, He would if you would just let Him! Letting God fight for me isn’t lazy—nor an excuse for laziness—it’s obedient.
Okay so I’ll equip and prepare and “Be strong in the Lord” and whatnot, but WHY would God fight for me?!
Because this never was about me.
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”
It’s about Jesus. All that matters is “faith working through love.” Praise the LORD my life is not about me. That’s how to find His peace when your life appears to be one flush away from down the crapper. That’s how to let Him be your shield!
That’s how stuff like this makes sense:
“The LORD your God is among you,
a warrior who saves.
He will rejoice over you with gladness.
He will bring you quietness with His love.
He will delight in you with shouts of joy.”