Life gets crazy sometimes, doesn’t it? In fact, it can get downright overwhelming. Our good Father orchestrates events perfectly for our good - yes, we know that intellectually, but admittedly, there are moments when it sure doesn’t seem like it.
I wrote a song at one of those times. Not unlike you probably, I have many roles in my life. Pressures were mounting and I was feeling it. My body would clench tighter than my fist as I tried to hold it together, and my breath and appetite often left me. I was getting angry more quickly than I cared to admit and had been taking it out on my family…especially my sweet wife.
Alone and Embattled
What I really felt was alone. I believed I was doing good things, and I was frustrated that I had to deal with the battle.
I thought of the Alamo. Do you remember? It was a mission set up to be a safe place where the truth of the gospel could be shared with local Native Americans. One day, there were 1800 troops outside and less than 200 to defend themselves against them. Not good odds. It was over in less than two weeks. No one came to help.
Learning to deal with internal battles and spiritual warfare well has been a difficult road for me. The lonely and embattled feeling is scary, and my typical strategy is to kind of hold my breath, try to be strong, and fight through it.
For me, that usually means I get a little quieter and a little grouchier: “Don’t bother me, I’m trying to fight a battle over here.”
Ironic, right? Still, much of my frustration had been with God. I wanted Him to change my situation, and because He didn’t, it felt like He didn’t care. It felt like He didn’t see me. I believed I was the last one standing and was shaking my fist at the God who was allowing the attack and not doing anything.
Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled
I had decided to start studying Jesus’ words in John 14-16 and in my context, his very first words hit hard: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
My response was revealing. What I didn’t realize was how small my faith was. God had already declared, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
I had orphaned myself.
In this passage, Jesus even says, “I will not leave you as orphans” (Jn 14:18), and goes on, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (v. 27).
This was at a time when the disciples had just found out that Jesus was going away. Right as the new commandment was given in the upper room, He told them, “Where I am going you cannot come” (13:33). So for them, they were worried about being left alone to fight their battles. That’s when Jesus tells them, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me” (14:1).
When I felt alone and embattled, the Lord used these words to remind me of His presence. He has never left. He knows how to be a friend. His love never fails.
Even though there were things I didn’t understand, His exhortation to me was this: “Stay with Me.” He is always with me, but I have also to choose to stay with Him. It is a relationship after all. He doesn’t force. And His tenderness and grace are evident even when I shake my fist at Him. There is no disappointment in His eyes. Only love.
If I could just remain, and remember He won’t abandon this little mission, I may see things I didn’t expect.
I was the little kid asking his father a million impatient questions about what will come next: “What’s it going to look like? Will we be safe? Is it dangerous? Who are we going to see? Where are we going anyway?”
To which He responds, “You’ll see.”
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