Monday, December 1, 2014

Battle Ground

When the front door shut and the bus drove away, I turned back to this empty house and had a moment (read: moment) of very real loneliness before my mind turned to overdrive and I sat down in this comfy chair to write.

I get used to loneliness really quickly. {wink}

Last night we got out all of our Christmas ornaments, which could be a really fun time if people would not fight over which ornaments they hung, where they go, and which ornaments are beside other ornaments.

A mandatory time-out was imposed.

Who has mandatory time-outs from tree decorating??

Finally...the finished product

Well, we do.

A small battle in the over-all war over teaching our children how to behave and be good citizens, whether that be a citizen of our home (which everyone argues with; the idea that our home is a small community is lost on them, but I keep trying anyway) or a citizen of this country.

The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, 
"The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior." 
Then Gideon said to him, 
"O my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? 
And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying 
'Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?' 
But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand Midian." 
The Lord looked at him and said, 
"Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. 
Have I not sent you?" 
He said to Him, 
"O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? 
Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, 
and I am the youngest in my father's house." 
But the Lord said to him, 
"Surely I will be with you, 
and you shall defeat Midian as one man."
{judges 6:12-16}

Gideon was faced with a battle, too. And he had no idea how he was going to accomplish the task set out before him. Conquer the Midianites, who were strong and mighty?

So he came up with a few excuses:
1) my family is the least in Manasseh
2) I am the youngest
3) I haven't seen any miracles, so I'm not expecting any now
4) looks like God has abandoned us, so why should I go fight?

Poor Gideon.

He sounds a lot like me.

The battles that I face sometimes seem too big for me. I, like Gideon, can only ask one, single question: How am I going to do this?

Did you notice that Gideon was called a valiant warrior before he even put on his soldier duds? I tend to skip over sentences like these, too, and I didn't notice the significance of this until it was pointed out to me in the study Seed by Priscilla Shirer. Gideon wasn't a warrior. He was the youngest kid from a family in Manasseh, who was going about his own business until an angel of the Lord interrupted with some grand plans. Plans Gideon didn't think he was cut out for.

I've often wondered at my ability to be a good parent, a good wife--I mean, really, I wonder at my ability to get my rear to all the places I need to go fully clothed and on time. My battleground may not be a war with weapons on a field somewhere in the Arabian Peninsula, but I do feel like I'm fighting unseen forces on a daily basis.

We are described as warriors, even though we probably don't ever feel like it. And we aren't warriors in our own strength, we are warriors because God promises to be with us, and He sends us out to do battle on turf we aren't always comfortable fighting on. Impossible? Sometimes it feels like it, when all we see is push back and not a lot of progress, but He gives us strength to do the things we feel like are impossible.

...for my strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) 
and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness.
{2 corinthians 12:9}

There are plenty of battles to be fought. Bitterness, anger, unforgiveness. Faith, purity, love. Temptation. Greed. Selfishness--it wouldn't take long to fill in the many impossible battles you are facing today. Depending on the day, I find myself fighting for some of these and against others, and not just in my own life, but in the lives of my children, too. And most of the time, I'm anything but a warrior. I have plenty of excuses as to why I can't fight the fight on any given day.

But even though Gideon made some excuses, the Lord promised to be with Him, just as He promises to be with you and me, giving us His strength to accomplish His will.

Sometimes I try really hard to believe this promise. After all, it is a promise. But there is a little part of me that is scared, because I haven't seen many miracles in my day, either. So I'm scared to commit to God, and I let  my fears and anxieties paralyze me from being effective for His kingdom. I'm scared that if I do move, if I do commit, if I do believe, then He will get me started, but then abandon me once the battle has begun.

But, just like with footsteps in the sand, the times you think you are alone are the times He is carrying you.

Believe today that God is with us. Let us operate our lives from this simple statement today.

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