SO much of this post has been inspired by meditation on the life of Jacob and some journaling I have been doing on competition and faith.
I re-read a strange post that I wrote in December, 2010..... I stumbled on it a few weeks ago and had forgotten I had ever written it.
Though it was one of the harder times in my life, it has an important place in my list of 'beautiful letdowns' that were orchestrated by the hand of God. A reminder that Jesus kept His scars even after the resurrection.... scars are not ugly, they are important tokens that we are warriors and conquerors. An unscathed life is an un-lived life.
Now that I am so far removed from that particular battle, I can see God's faithfulness, presence, power, and love in an even clearer way. And I always need to be careful.... no need to be overly dramatic... nothing un-common about my journey... indeed, God has to treat me very gently because I am no hero.
The following thoughts are meant to be an encouragement to any believer who is on the ground after a defeat.... a God-allowed defeat... a God-purposed defeat... a loss that hurt you deeply, but God is going to use it to work a miracle in your life- do you dare believe that?
You just have to do two main things...
1) Never give up on Him.... even if you feel the entire world mocking you in your humility.
2) Be willing to keep swinging the SWORD of His truth... even if the enemy looks stronger than you could ever imagine.
As I have been watching the world burn lately and prayed through the unhealthy division in America these days I have been encouraged that there has never been a bigger or better stage for authentic Christian living than right now.
All of the mass communication technology is ready to take the story to places before that were unthinkable.
As little snowflakes of self-absorbed, ivory tower humanistic thinking evaporate in the heat of trial, you could stand firm in the storm - mystify this current generation- and magnify the God of truth and grace as never before.
Here is how it felt to me just 5 years ago....
Look at me (lying here in humiliation and defeat)- you laugh and I laugh.
YOU ARE LAUGHING AT ME ......
But I am OK.... I just figured something out.... I realize now that the way God cares is so alien to us.... it is his strange ministers that make up His HOLINESS. He does seem at times intolerable careless about my scars and crosses- but He should be. Things I tremble at, He just shakes His head. Do I really know of loneliness and pain?
"Come on," He says, "Give me a break. Your powder puff- magic dragon God of expediency does not exist".
"But I get so tired of constantly defending You against the cynics and criers- especially those who walk around so disappointed in You. Some are sure You are not there- and they are mad at You for that."
"Well I'm tired of you thinking you have to defend Me- that's the job of the stars and moon- and they do just fine- Thank-you."
I sit down in the sandstorm and feel the sting- the sandpaper grinds my flesh- a little layer at a time.
As I sit there, the greatest dragon I have ever encountered opens wide. His breath is nasty hot and his fangs are poised to strike.
At that point... I become the most surprised man on the planet.. I look with a steeliness and an anger and a vigor that I never felt before and I strike that dragon with a sword that had been hidden inside me- sharp and deadly.
I stand back up and the sand does not sting anymore. I finally get a little hint- faith is not the good life- it is the God-life.
The skeptics sneer at me still- 'false front' they say.
But my faith is on the line- and my love is on display. "No No" I say "Look at my gospel. It is not pretty and nice... it is authentic and true.- it is scratched, dented, beat up, and worn...but it sure looks good on me and feels so much like home....
I LAUGH AT ME AS WELL...
Because my lot is really easy and the burden is light..Faith means I have no knowledge of the next minute- there may be death/pain/loss/rejection/sickness/tragedy- but I persevere in the firm confidence that God's love NEVER leaves me.
I prayed about my cold heart- and God broke it. He binds it back up- but it never stops leaking after that- and that leakage is streams of mercy.
So I laugh at my silly pity party- God smiles.
I look at my family and friends and thank Him- and discover that the humble attitude of gratitude is the foundation of worship.
And then I see how good we are- what strong shape we are in- and find the greatest truth of all. It was NOTHING in me- it was ALL IN HIM.
And I laugh so hard I cry.
I never know who may read these things, but as I finish this up on a dark February morning, all I can say is that God is there and He does care.
As I read comments on facebook posts or classless commentary on news stories, I know that the mockers and cynics have never seemed worse.. but you have to never stop praying for them and never give up in our true hope.
Don't lay there and waller in your misery. Stand up and live as a child of the King.
Those are the testimonies that gain traction in this world. Life on life.... one day at a time.. until He returns.