Fighting in a Battle
There's these stories in the Old Testament that I've been reading. Stories of how the a rag-tag group of desert-dwellers became a nation. God ranges up this group of slaves from Egypt who have been calling out to Him.
And let me tell you, they are a miserable lot. Complainers. Whiners. Grumblers. "Oh, we'll never make it out here!" "Oh, we'll die out here without water." "Oh, we'll never taste good food again." "Oh, we have no way to get into a land of giants." Time and time again they do nothing but whine.
It gets so Moses is just plain sick of leading them. He quits the job several times. But God keeps him going. It gets so God is just plain sick of leading them. He quits the job several times. But Moses keeps Him going. Moses and God - and a bunch of whiners. Taking them to the "Promised Land". So when they get there, and see it's going to be a battle, they do what?
Give up. Quit. Pack it in. Lose courage (as if they ever had any) and lose heart.
But God loves them desperately. He has chosen them and His kindness to them is so great. He falls head over heels in love with this group of Israelites. He can't stop thinking about them. He can't stop wanting to bless them. He keeps devising plans to give them great blessings. He keeps speaking words of encouragement to them. He keeps setting up festivals and celebrations so that they can enjoy time with Him. He sets apart "holy days" to break up their busyness to meet with Him and celebrate. He's just plain nuts about them! Go figure.
His ultimate plan is for this miserable group to be so blessed by Him that they love Him back and all the people of the earth see what a great God He is through them. But it never seems to work out very well.
Part of the plan is to bring them to the "Promised Land". A great place where they can settle down and be a great nation of people. God is sick of the wickness of the Canaanites and ready to wipe them out. He's wants the Israelites to be the strong victorious nation they can be in doing this with Him!
So God uses a phrase that keeps popping up. "Given them into your hands." I keep thinking about that phrase. "Given them into your hands." I think it means that the ending is already predetermined. You win! Okay, that's guaranteed. Done.
There's only one catch. You still have to fight it. You still have to have the courage to show up. To put your armor on. To put the sword in your hand. To run up to the enemy. To look him in the face and swing that sword with all your might. Fight!
I'm such an Israelite. I believe that God is head over heels in love with me. He's nuts about loving and blessing me. He's nuts about spending time with me and hearing me call out to Him and rely on Him. He's crazy about the way I look to Him for strength and He gets such a charge from blessing me. He keeps thinking of better and better ways to do it. He keeps encouraging me every step. He keeps showing me ways that I can grow in my walk with Him.
He's given me the victory for this journey. He's guaranteed it. Promised it. But there's one thing necessary. I have to show up with some fight in me. Some willingness to not just sit there in a pity party. Not just whine about my circumstance. Fight for it.
For what? Exactly?
Fight for peace. It won't come to me without me reaching for it. My peace comes not from my circumstances. It comes from the character of God. Who He is. How He's proven Himself in my life. If there is a God and if He cares about me. Then I can have peace.
Fight for joy. Same thing. Joy is a choice. Joy doesn't come from my circumstance. It comes as I choose my attitude for the day. Where will I let my mind go? Self-pity or self-control. Fear or fight. I choose joy.
These are gifts offered everyday from the hand of a God who delights in me. He's really wanting me to have them and to enjoy them. He's hoping that I take them. He's asking me to take them. He's never failed to give them out.
I read the end of Numbers today and I sat back in amazement as I read of a battle the Israelites did. A successful one. They completely wiped out the enemy (five Midianite kings and their armies) grabbed all the spoils and never lost a single combatant. That's some serious kicking butt! Why so lopsided? Because God had "given them into your hands". It filled me with fight!
Today I find out the results of my biopsy. I'm so filled with emotion about it. Will there be a cancer diagnosis confirmed medically? I'm praying there won't. I'm asking God that they don't find cancer in biopsy they took from the tumor in my kidney. But I'm trusting God and I'm fighting for peace and joy.
Life is an adventure, a journey we travel. And God walks it with us - hand in hand if we let Him. Guiding, shaping, and molding us through the circumstances. I seek to journey more intentionally here.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Fighting in a Battle