Friday, April 29, 2016

Foundering in the Fight

I've been foundering.

I haven't written here in almost a month and a half. If people asked, I said it is because I've had no words. And while that is partially true, it is definitely not the whole truth.

There is so much going on in my life right now. My mom with her ALS and congestive heart failure. My parents selling their home, and moving into an RV, and spending most of the summer somewhat in my neck of the woods. My mother-in-law in a rehab facility with a broken hip, diabetes, drop foot, sciatica, and unlikely to leave or live independently again. My own daughter with a lump in her upper arm that has been just a pain free lump for over a year, but that changed color last weekend. There has been unbelievable stress in the bonds of family relationships.

My plate has been full.

But, more than a full plate, my heart has just not been right with God.

I wouldn't say that my faith is in jeopardy.

But my heart has been cold. Ice cold. And hard.

I couldn't feel God's presence. I couldn't see His hand. I couldn't fathom His plan. I couldn't pray-at least not more than surface.

And, though the song says, "trust His heart", I wasn't.

And thus I couldn't write. I had no words.

So, what changed?

We went to a Bible conference last week, and God spoke through one of the speakers, right into my cold heart. My hard heart.

I was reminded that we are in a war. A spiritual war. A war for the hearts of men and women. I know this. I often think of this battle field when I am serving. But, I'd forgotten this war in day to day life.

Here in the US of A, we have been barraged in this warfare. For years. It has been an out and out battle of good against evil. Overtly and covertly, this attack has worn me down.

Gay marriage. Transgender bathrooms. Abortion. Racial tensions. This election. (!!!)

My paradigm, my life's foundation, is what God says in black and white in Scripture.

Yet, unbelievers, to say nothing of the vast majority of "believers" are attacking the traditional Scriptural stance on these issues. In the name of equality and love.

And as I stood under the endless barrage in my FB feed and twitter feed, as I stood under the barrage of circumstances in my own life (and those of my loved ones) I felt beaten down and defeated. I started to question God. His goodness. His love. His tolerance and intolerance of sin. His provision of holiness and righteousness and justice. His wrath. His plan. His sovereignty.

In the guise of not understanding, I started to not like what the Bible said. Which was a very short step away from not agreeing. And then questioning.

My foundations and very core were shaken.

If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

I forgot that both in the big scheme of things-world level- and in the little life issues, God is good-all the time. God is righteous-all the time. God is holy-all the time. God is just-all the time!

If He is not just, holy, perfect, righteous, good, faithful, _____all the time, He is not any of the time.

(God's character is more than what He does. It is who He is. Which is why is doesn't just turn on and off.)

I lost sight of this truth, and it sent everything spinning out of control.

I forgot we are in a battle. Not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness.

I put down my shield of faith, my helmet of salvation, my sword of the spirit, my belt of truth, and my breastplate of righteousness. The fiery darts weren't quenched. They landed. And it has been devastating in my personal life.

But, God is so good. He is so gracious. And patient.

He sent from above, He delivered me, He drew me out of many waters.

But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared.

God used the speaker at the conference to remind me that we are in this war. So, get those loins girded!

God used the speaker at the conference to remind me of Job, and all he went through. And how God was in it. Job was tested because of his noble and righteous character. He grew as he came to learn God's character.

Job was tested because God knew Job would glorify God through the suffering and loss.

I am tested for the same reason. God's glory. My good.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. But God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But, when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out, so that you can stand up under it.

I was reminded that in this warfare, there are relationship issues. It is not pretty. But, this war is not against flesh and blood. We are supposed to love, and not be obnoxious just for the sake of being obnoxious. In addition to that, Christians have been given the ministry of reconciliation. Reconciliation of people to God. Reconciliation in our relationships.

I was reminded that the joy of the Lord is our strength. Complaining is wallowing in weakness. It is letting our guard down. It is giving the fiery darts an opening. Thankfulness and joy are life and strength giving.

I was hit with a paradigm shift. How often have I said, "the Lord will reward you for doing..." when these things we do are simply a presenting of our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is our spiritual act of worship. God owes me nothing. I owe Him everything.

Everything has not been peachy-keen since last weekend. No one has been miraculously healed. I've had a sinus headache all week. My running has sucked. LC's arm had me at Urgent Care and the ER for several hours yesterday.

But, my heart feels warm. It feels softer. My paradigm has shifted back to where is should be.