All those cute image quotes about faith? They once had skin on ’em; skin slick with sweat, skin covering up a vascular system with pulse pounding through it, skin encasing an increased heart rate and the sobering frisson of real fear . . .
The light at life’s intersection just turned yellow: “Enter with caution.” In your gut you can feel it. You might’ve been singing Ray Stevens’s “Everthang Is Byoo-ti-fuhl— in it’s own way-y-y” to bolster your courage, striding confidently forward in the face of whatever it is. But everthang inside is screaming, “SLOW DOWN” and your spirit is taking each step toe-first, your head slightly turned as if to hear the slightest whisper of anything coming up behind you.
Yeah. To quote Raymone, “Guess everthang ain’t so dadblamed byootiful, now, is it?” Laying all the bravado aside, you know The Challenge looms ahead. Game on.
It’s just you . . . and it.
If God doesn’t come through, there isn’t another go-around.
And. He. Does.
Ever wanted to know what makes people tick who seem serene right in the middle of what to any sane person would be a spiritual firefight? Somewhere on their back trail, they’ve proven God to be GOD. They’ve seen, even felt Him do what in human terms is impossible.
They’re the spiritual veterans whose hearts, minds and spirits have a toughness only deriving from one source. Whose eyes have that familiar thousand-year gaze; it looks beyond this life, realizing this is just a tiny bit of What Really Counts.
“How do you know that?” The same way any vet recognizes another.
I’m one of ’em. Every day I wake up here, I sense God’s healing Hand on me. Babycakes and I are collaborating on a book about my story, so I won’t bore you with any details here. (How’s that for a tickler?) For now, you need to take my word: I’ve seen and felt God do what credible people all say is impossible.
Know what? I LOVE being around other Veterans of Spirit Wars like that. I’ll be first to admit: we’re a different breed.
“So you’re saying it’s a one-time deal? God steps in when everyone else checks out and from then on you’re gold? No more questions or doubts or worries?”
You know better. That’s like saying just because Kuwait or Iraq war vets were there, they automatically win in Afghanistan. Nope. Different time, different terrain, different circumstances.
There are two crucial things you must remember about the Spirit Wars. No–three.
- The enemy is the same. The Adversary loves to dress up differently, even looking like you–and even hiding behind the innocent. But his nature, his implacable hatred of you and anything having to do with God is always the same. You know the enemy now. You know what to expect.
You are the same. You’ve proven yourself, standing by faith in God, His Word and His people. You’ve stood – often seeming to be alone – in the face of the furious, unrestricted and unreasoning hatred of Satan and those following him without falling. You’ve watched God respond to your stand of faith when you were sure: “Okay, then. This is it.”
- God will never lose. Consider for just a minute that all those people mentioned in the Bible are real and their stories just as much fact as 2nd Fallujah in November-December of 2004.
Ever had some military dude outfit you with ceramic-armored battle dress, weighing you down with weaponry you’ve never used and don’t trust? David did. If he’d have gone out against Goliath with Saul’s armor on, there’d have been no Psalms written and no King David. Saul’s armor worked for Saul. David knew this was the biggest challenge (and definitely the biggest human!) he’d ever faced. Instinctively he understood: “I’ve got to go with what I know how to use.”
Ever been totally surrounded by people ALL doing the popular thing? Even way too many who said they were God’s own people? “Aw, c’mon. What’s it gonna hurt? This is just a political thing; everyone knows you won’t really mean it. Just take one for the team and let’s get this over with.” Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael were. “Yo, boss, those three refuse to bow to your obvious supreme wonderfulness.” (Sound familiar?) “They’re thumbing their noses at you. Probably Tea Party activists…” Those three young men knew standing for God might mean instant death. They chose to stand, anyway, rather than bow before the breathtaking megalomania of a human despot secretly thinking himself a god who couldn’t stand being ridiculed and defied.
That’s just two. The Bible’s full of such accounts of regular people who chose to swim against the popular social and spiritual current and stand for God.
Think about it. So is your life. Books are available telling of the same things happening in others’ lives. They’re not fables. Those books are not in the Fiction aisle.
Those are people just as real as you. They got up in the morning with a full bladder and the sheen of night sweat just like you and I do. No special blessings or a pass by God just because they pray before eating and engage in worship at church.
Nope. We all have to shave, shower, wash hair and brush teeth anyway. Nen do it all again tomorrow. Next day. Like that.
Vets of the Spirit Wars don’t have any special help. What they do have is an awareness of just Who God is and what He can do.
Paul was one of those. Listen to him: “All this trouble is a clear sign that God has decided to make you fit for the kingdom. You’re suffering now, but justice is on the way. When the Master Jesus appears out of heaven in a blaze of fire with his strong angels, he’ll even up the score by settling accounts with those who gave you such a bad time . . . . But on that very same day when he comes, he will be exalted by his followers and celebrated by all who believe–and all because you believed what we told you. Because we know that this extraordinary day is just ahead, we pray for you all the time–pray that our God will make you fit for what he’s called you to be, pray that he’ll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something. If your life honors the name of Jesus, he will honor you. Grace is behind and through all of this.” (2 Thessalonians 1)
Yep. Sometimes The Challenge still looms ahead. Game on.
It’s just you . . . and it. At least that’s the way it seems.
If God doesn’t come through, there isn’t another go-around.
And. He. Does. He. did.
And. He. Will.
© D. Dean Boone, July 2014