If you falter in times of trouble,
how small is your strength!
I've recently been medicating myself with the adventures of Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman in "Long Way Round", a 10 episode documentary on an around the world motorcycle adventure I wish I could be on right now. Netflix has been my night time cocktail for a little relief from a season that feels like it will never end. The last few months have been difficult for a host of reasons. The resignation of an outstanding employee, the hemorrhoids I'm sitting on, and the problems of others, which have become my problems, are a few of the lighter things weighing heavy on my mind and heart these days. The spirit I'm carrying around could be described like a sense of failure with a flurry of punches to the gut. I have been praying with mouth and heart what a sage taught me to pray in times like these:
"Jesus, catch my heart. I am falling hard."
Everything else I pray is secondary. I am asking, of course, for wisdom, guidance, relief, money, miracles and the like, but what I am really in desperate need of is strength. Strength to stand. Strength to hold up a shield to protect me from flaming arrows being flung at me with marksman precision (Eph 6:16).
In truth, I want to be heroic. I just don't want to have to be heroic.
I want to be strong. I just don't want to have to be strong.
Right now, everything in me wants to lay down. Admit defeat. Let the freaking lion eat me and get it over with. But I know this is not right. As a man I am supposed to offer more. To "falter" is apparently a choice. A test. And to fail is an indicator that a man is not really coming through in ways he is designed to come through.
It has been a rescue to stop and remember the One whose image I bear.
"Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.”
In response to my heart's cries, I hear the Father saying, in the kindest way possible
"I'd rather you learn to stand than cave. Let me teach you to make your stand. You are not alone."
I'd love to believe there is always a shortcut, or a glitch in the Matrix we can exploit. But battle is inevitable. Courage is required. There is only one way through this and it will not be pleasant. Men's hearts are melting like wax all around us. They are falling. They are failing. But that is not the providence for us.
We are without excuse.
We are fully equipped.
We are His sons.
Weapons to carry everywhere:
If God is for us, who can be against? - Paul (Romans 8:31)
No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. -Isaiah 54:17
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." -Romans 8:15
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." - Deuteronomy 31:8
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." -Jesus (John 14:27)
"Do not be afraid"
1 Samuel 4:20
1 Samuel 22:23
1 Samuel 23:17
1 Samuel 28:13
2 Kings 1:15
2 Kings 19:6
2 Kings 25:24
Jeremiah 42:11 (2 times)
"Do not fear"
Judges 6:10 (You shall not fear the gods of the Amorites...)
Judges 3:11 1
2 Samuel 9:7
2 Samuel 13:28
1 Kings 17:13
2 Kings 6:16
2 Kings 17:35 (You shall not fear other gods, nor bow...)
2 Kings 17:37
2 Kings 17:38
1 Chronicles 22:13
1 Chronicles 28:200
2 Chronicles 20:15
2 Chronicles 20:17
2 Chronicles 32:7
Nehemiah 4:14 (Do not be afraid...)
Job 21:9 (Their houses are safe from fear..)
Psalm 78:53 (He led them to safety so they did not fear)
Isaiah 54:14?? (you will be far from oppression, for you will not fear..)
John 14:27 (Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful)
1 Peter 3:14 (Do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled,
John 14:1 (Do not let your heart be troubled...) Acts 20:10