Kingdom Thinking

Photo by alexandra lammerink on Unsplash

The David and Goliath story Annie wrote about in 100 Days To Brave is so fitting for this time. Resolve in that story came quicker than we are experiencing, but the fundamental truths found there are so true.

Our Goliath is the corona virus, and it has us retreating from enemy lines. I don’t know the details of that experience, but I do know that God is working through many Davids to bring our Goliath down. I’ve speculated with my wife about how this virus started, but it doesn’t matter. If it was intentional or natural doesn’t empower us to rid the world of it. We must stop the blame game, and unite in defeating it. That’s why I choose to stay home. My daughter has an underlying health condition that puts her in the high risk population, and I would never forgive myself if I brought that virus into the house if we lost our precious child. I love her more than life itself, and I’d in a way I’m laying my life down for her even as my business account is in the negative. Money is a renewable resource, but human life is not. It’s really a no-brainer. As I prepare for an ocean of tears I contemplate a third cup of coffee because even though I just patted myself on the back I’m hurting like hell. And here it comes. I’ll be right back. I need coffee. LOL through an ocean of tears. I’m a drama queen.

I’ve been crying for the past 6-months because my father-in-law David lost his battle with cancer. It was actually bacterial meningitis because his cancer was in “remission.” This time last year we had some hope that he was turning the corner, but God knew, and now we trust the Father’s presence to get us through this suffering. Suffering, pain and waiting are part of life, and there’s not a one of us who doesn’t have to go through those things. I remember Ma (my dad’s mom) grieving the loss of Pa, and I remember crying myself to sleep as a child contemplating my parents dying. Fear is a reality we all face, hence the reason I memorized 1 John 4.18 when I was pastoring a church in Florida. Here it is in The Message.

There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgment – is one not yet fully formed in love.

I don’t know that one ever gets “good” at facing fear. You have to do whatever it is God has called you to do in the face of fear many times in life, if not everyday. There were times before this virus hit that I was afraid to go to the grocery. My anger management problem is not a fun thing to battle. Even when I repeat the name of Jesus over and over I can lash out in anger at a complete stranger. I’m not possessed by a demon because I have the gift of the Holy Spirit, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t sinned grievously in hate, nor does it mean I’ll never do it again. Being real and raw in this struggle certainly helps in my coping with this aspect of clinical depression, and it’s another powerful reason I do not skip taking my meds. Paul’s thorn in the flesh was not removed. Could the Father have removed it? Well that’s an obvious yes, but he didn’t. Can he remove my thorn in the flesh? Yes. Has he? No. I’ll keep you posted as I have all these years. Your faithful visits to my little corner of the world here is such an encouragement, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I think my battle can be illustrated with a football analogy. Sometimes a college football team will go out with the attitude of trying not to lose. That puts a team on the defensive. Defense is important in any competition, but there is a little thing called offense. Sometimes a good defense is a good offense, and I thing the analogy can be applied to life. It’s biblical. God has not given us a spirit of timidity and fear, but a Spirit of power, love and self-control (1 or 2 Timothy).  We weren’t made to live in fear. Emmanuel is the antithesis to that as Caralyn and I wrote about yesterday. If a football team goes out to win even if they lose they know they didn’t lose for a lack of trying. That’s what the Father asks of us. He asks us daily to be brave. I don’t think the Father created us thinking, “Oh, I sure hope they like and obey me.” That doesn’t sound like an all powerful God. And we were created in his image! We’ve been called to see the glass half full! That doesn’t mean we won’t fall prey to seeing it half empty because that’s why posts like this are essential. We need an army of Barnabas, and the internet can be a place resplendent with those kinds of people. It can also be a workshop for evil. We get to make the choice.

Each one of us is deeply loved by God (John 3.16). Belief in him is the prerequisite for relationship with him. Putting him on in baptism is a confession to the faith community that we know and live out the fact that we were saved because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our works are a continual testimony to the greatness of him who never grows tired, much less has to sleep. He rests because as the ultimate leader he challenges us to rest because so many of us feel guilty for resting. We have to keep up with the Joneses, but that’s a lie we have to fight day in and day out.

Keep fighting it dear one because there will come a day when what the Joneses are doing won’t matter at all! This Good News is always fresh this time of year the way it is around Christmas, and man am I thankful for that reality. All bets are off. No virus can take it away, and not even death can put a stopper to the relationship. I don’t see David the way I used to see him, but I can only imagine what it’s going to be like to look at him later. I’ll cry rivers till that happens, but I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that we will be together again. What we will talk about I do not know, but it doesn’t really matter  because not only will sickness and death be behind us, but we will be privy to the greatest whos who list in the world. Wow is all I can write. How much money we made here, how big our houses were, what our athletics records were, the letters behind our name and the incredible sex we had won’t matter one bit. What will matter is that we chose Jesus as LORD, and to say that will be enough doesn’t even scratch the surface.

Dear God, you know every word before I pray. You know every obstacle that keeps me from you. Remove those obstacles in your time. Empower me to trust your timing as I wait patiently for that. I struggle with hate and anger dear LORD. I need your presence to replace that. I want you dear God. You and only you is what satisfies, but the Evil One seeks to distract me from you. Distract him when my guard is down, and when I’m given a choice to choose something that replaces you empower me to choose you. You know the evil we are up against. You count the number of hairs on my head dear Father. You are the Great Physician. You’ve healed countless souls from physical and spiritual death. You feed us even when we don’t consume water or bread. You are enough, and you remind us daily that we are enough. Empower us to believe that. In Jesus name amen.

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