Thursday, January 20, 2011

Well Placed Stones

Ok, stick (and stones, groan) with me for a little bit.  I know my thought process on this is a little weird...and could be taken more than one way (got your attention, didn't it?)....but I'll 'splain.

I was listening to the radio and the song "Voice of Truth" by Casting Crowns was playing.  This song has gotten me through many a rough spot and always seems to play at the right time.  There is a verse that talks about David and the giant.  David stands before the giant with his shepherd's sling and a few stones. 

The Israelites had been frightened by the Philistines and their prize fighter, Goliath.  For 40 days the giant had taunted them.  David, the young brother, comes to check on his brothers on the front lines for the Israelites.  He overhears the giant taunting their army.  He wonders why "the armies of the living God" huddle in fear every time the giant appears.  David had experience as a shepherd scaring off bears and lions and killing them if necessary.  David tells the king he will take on Goliath.  The king first, but he's really out of options.  The king tells David to take his battle gear.  David tries on the king's gear, but it's too big and he's not used to it so he leaves it behind. David approaches the front line where Goliath continues his ranting and raving about why they would send a boy to fight him.

1 Samuel 17:45-50 (NIV) 45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
 48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.
 50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.

David had grabbed 5 stones.  It only took one stone in the right place and David to remind the Israelites that the battle was the Lord's to topple the giant.  Couple of other things I notice while reading the verses above?  David talks out loud to the giant.  David runs to the front line instead of waiting for the giant to attack him first.

Sometimes I need a reminder too when in the midst of fighting the daily smaller battles that amount to feeling like a war for my attitude, attention and mood.  The battles are God's.  We have to trust that He will give us the equipment we need to fight the giant(s) we face.  The world will laugh.  Who fights a giant with a sling and a stone?  David did.  We can too.

I think when the snow melts I will find a smooth stone.  I'm going to set it somewhere where it will remind me when I see it that it only took one well placed stone to take down a giant.  I think this will keep my battles in better perspective.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Separation Anxiety

Romans 8:35 (NLT) Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?  
I am not writing this to list off all our troubles and calamities.  In the whole scheme of life and all that COULD happen, this week's issues are minor speed bumps.  Placed in the way to slow us down.  To pay more attention?  To distract us from where we need to get to? I'm not quite sure at this point.  I am writing this so that in a few weeks when we have made it through this, I will be reminded (yet again) of where my real help comes from. 

So, in no particular order: broken toe (seems like no big deal until you realize how much weight is placed on this toe and the balancing it assists with); unexpected job change; rentals, renters and ongoing financial stuff; a broken down van - tow truck and the unexpected time it took up; school/kid issues...and the list could probably go on, but these are the biggies.

I was doing pretty well (or so I thought) until said van incident made me slow down (as if the toe wasn't enough, H.E.L.L.O!) and realize my anxiety has been rising.  I have let other stuff get in the way of taking time to read the Bible and pray and praise and worship....and, and, and. I have separated myself from my main source of help in times of trouble and distress!

When those troubles come, I have a choice to make.  I can move closer to....or further from....God.   

Psalm 107:6 (NLT) “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he rescued them from their distress. (4 times in Psalm 107)

Rescue can come in all forms.  The bedspread I had in the van to take to a commercial laundry kept me warm while I waited for the tow truck.  Time to sing praise songs as I waited.  The cane my son had bought as a joke quite awhile ago has been handy for keeping balance through the snow and ice. 

Psalm 107:43 (NLT) Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord.

God's love is faithful. I'm the one who moves further away and separation anxiety kicks in.  Sometimes those speed bumps help us get turned around to where we need to be.  Victory is ours.  Claim it. Own it. Feel the love. Kick anxiety to the curb. 

Romans 8:37 (NLT) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.