Friday, June 17, 2011
Heaven's slings and arrows
When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army of horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked. "Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." And Elisha prayed, "O Lord, open his eyes so he may see." Then the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha."--2Kings 6:15-17
Most days, I want to forget that I am a soldier. As an apparently serene morning begins and I reach for a cup of fresh coffee and smile at the rising sun, I know in my heart that this day, so promising, will challenge me somehow. The challenges vary, they wear different clothes every day, but the real combatants never change. Whether I have to fight traffic, or experience unkindness, or discipline children, or pull a garden full of weeds, or encounter personal temptations, I often disregard what You taught me about fighting my fights. I am a minor player in them. I carry water or messages or at best fire a few feeble shots. You wield the real weapons.
In Roman 7, Paul bemoans his inability to live as he knows he should. He knows what is right and doesn't do it. He knows what is wrong and though he doesn't want to do it, he does it anyway. I understand his frustration. Just as he found, I am never strong enough, never clever enough, never prepared enough to fight real evil. And that's OK. I have You.
Elisha knew this when he showed his servant the real army. That army fights for me too, as long as I ally myself with its side. My real job isn't to fight, it's to choose. Yes, I have to enter swinging, but it is not me who determines the victor. As I desire You and Your good, You engage the fight. As I yield to evil, evil takes back ground in my life. Just as Paul lamented, evil already has a foothold, a wedge, in my life. I can let it in further or let You help me slam the door in its face.
You force that choice daily through circumstances and people. You show constantly the enemy gathering at my gates. You stand beside me with holy weapons at the ready waiting for me to look up from my knees, pleading for help. The instant I do, you fling them and enemy retreats. Then, when the battle is won, I don't just have a victory, I have You.