Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12)
Who likes the unknown? I mean, really? Anyone?
Does anyone like that feeling of absolute uncertainty, blindness, powerlessness? The future is coming. Things have been set in motion that are beyond your control. You worry you won't like it. You fear what may be around the corner. You think over all the things you could have done differently, and simultaneously, the various favorable outcomes they might have produced. You stare into tomorrow, straining to see a glimpse of it from today...a hint...a whiff...anything...and all you see is nothing. No clue...but still...dread.
Then it comes to the climax. Your mind is full, your heart is racing, your chest is tight,
tears sting your eyes and then you realize...you see it...you listen back over the tape in
your head and can almost hear the glib, smuggness of the voice whispering all of these "facts" and "harsh realities" in your ear, see the gifted hand painting its vivid pictures in your mind.
You've been duped...played...taken for a fearsome, yet totally imaginary ride.
And you don't remember buying a ticket.
I had one of those moments today. I questioned everything, doubted everything, prepared to be shown a fool to my friends, to chalk all the Lord has done over the past 6 months up to fantasy and move on with life. I took my burden to the ladies room with me, reasoning all the way, why it was wise to just give up...to forget it all...to just stop walking in what I once believed was the Lord's direction. Then, as I washed my hands, the light came through.
There is a scene in the movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory where the guests are all on this cute little boat. It sets off, Willie contentedly singing as the passengers look at the candy-filled scenery, then...WHAM...darkness, horrific images whizzing by their heads. All but two are in total fear for their lives, jumping at each scene as it changes on the walls of the tunnel as if it were real. But it isn't. Then, just as suddenly, the panic-filled passengers are brought into the light and realize all is well...it was not real...they will be ok.
It was kind of like that...just sudden and startling. I'd been lied to...and I fell for it,
again! I was in a fight and I didn't realize until that moment that I'd just been standing there, allowing myself to be beat on. I had to make a choice...continue to listen to the lies or begin speaking the truth...begin fighting back.
I began to fight.
I started recalling verses the Lord has given to me over the past few months...
I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
I am with you to save you...I will contend with those who contend with you. . . . Then all flesh shall know that I am the Lord your Savior, and your Redeemer...
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
My times are in your hand.
Blessed is she who believed...
And therein lies the fight of faith...what, or whom will you believe? As a child of God, we can only believe what God's word says. Even when our circumstances seem to support the lie...if it goes against God's word...if believing it assumes God isn't always good and kind and merciful, abounding in steadfast love, working all things together for our good, able to make a way out of no way, and has plans to prosper us, giving us a hope and a future...then it is a lie. If it causes you to fear, to doubt, to question God, to wonder if you've made a mistake or a wrong turn. It is a lie. Our steps are ordered, our paths are made straight. If it makes you think you're sin has guaranteed a poor outcome when there could have been a favorable one, it is a lie. Our lot is secure. The lines have been drawn for us in pleasant places. If it makes you think you didn't really hear God. It is a lie. He says "my sheep hear my voice." If it makes you think YOU can do anything to hinder or change God's purposes for your life, it is a lie. It is the oldest lie in the book...that WE are or can be more powerful than God...that we can be Lord of our own lives. It is simply not true. He is God, we are not. When things are uncertain, He is just as much in control as when they are clear. When walls rise up, He is laying the bricks and will design a way of escape. When the storm kicks up, His voice is the thunder and His winds will blow those storm clouds away. When all within you is a churning, burning, hurting, fearful mess...only His voice can speak peace and comfort and truth and silence the lies.
Ultimately, whatever it is we are longing for or fearing or hoping for or trying to avoid, if our heart is not set on believing and being satisfied in God alone...the most favorable and pleasing outcome will not be enough. It will just be a short respite on your journey towards the next Wonka-style freakout. The Lord says: "My people shall be satisfied with my goodness..." Our fear and anxiety tells us when we aren't. Let it have its desired effect and point us back to the only one who can satisfy. When the fears and thoughts and lies start flying like fists to your heart, may we not just roll with the punches but fight back with the truth. I think you will be amazed at how quickly the jabs stop coming! I know I was!!