Courage and Conflict
New life is always under threat. The devourer prowls around cracked doors, hungry. Mary’s ‘yes’ to bear Christ may evoke consoling images of Mother and Child but also invites profound struggle. Mary’s ‘yes’ was a battle cry.
Simeon prophesied to Mary as she cradled the Babe: ‘a sword shall pierce your heart too.’ (Lk 2: 35) He referred to the suffering that Mary and all who lined up with Christ would face. Simeon planted a Cross right in the middle of the crib. From the onset of God’s entry on earth, the battle between good and evil manifested itself.
Last week, Annette and I faced spiritual warfare of unprecedented proportions. As I prepared for a ministry trip, everything that could go wrong did. The convergence of minor hardships inflamed our weaknesses and fears. When I arrived at the airport, I was exhausted beyond rest. Only then could I apprehend what was happening. The enemy sought to wear me out before I had even advanced.
At that I laughed. I am at my best when face down, relying only on the Word that comes in quiet surrender with my comrades.
In France, my beloved colleague Werner mirrored to me the weariness he and his friends have faced since gay advocates have targeted Living Waters there. Several healers have dropped out, and those that remain are shaken. That is precisely the enemy’s point: wear them out with relentless opposition.
God has a whole different plan for the battle we face. He wants us to disengage from the irrational buzz and press into Life. Our simple ‘yes’ combined with prayerful encouragement and solidarity among our fellows is all it takes. Amid the unraveling of God’s image in our land, God speaks through the Word of our pretty good lives, we once barren and impotent, now rendered virgin and fruitful.
So we decide. Does resistance dull or sharpen us? Do we face the bullets head-down or dodge them by opting for false peace with friends, families, governments?
Annette and I have come too far to dodge. Jesus did not convert us into pious liars. He called us into a new life together forged by fire. That is precisely how we become like Him—not by creating alternate worlds that distance us from the flames, but by looking to Him through the battle, trusting that He is forging something precious for Himself.
We just discovered that the Supreme Court will decide once and for all next year on Prop. 8, the victory He gave us four years ago when the people of CA voted down ‘gay marriage’. It has been tied up by Appeals Courts ever since. We fight on, confident that the truth housed in faithful ones will endure and bear fruit.
Admittedly, the true way is the hard one and at times we feel the burn. Lately we have been asking Him for more grace to endure what He asks of us. His strength married to our ‘yes’ makes that possible. We pray the same for you.
‘Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution, He will come to save you” ‘(Is 35: 3, 4).