Tag Archive | battle

Hope: Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

I was thinking about Hebrews 12.  Since I had been abused by my stepfather, I sometimes associated the verses in this chapter with my Earthly father.  I realize there is no comparison between My Father in Heaven and my stepfather; but, I also realize both had the potential to discipline me.  Remembering my past, I decided I would compare a coach to My Father (only in this case).

I thought about how my coach used to discipline me.  I got the jest of what was said in the chapter, but I let my anger cloud my thoughts of what I truly needed to understand.  I suppose the writer of Hebrews is stating that discipline is not always pleasant, but if I train hard (with my “coach”) then I can become stronger-bringing about great joy.

I am hopeful that this new found joy will lead me to great worship, or intimacy, with Him.  I am being made new in the Light of my darkness.

Although the “coach” may be a good analogy, God does not want me to think of Him as a coach…but as the true Father.  There are hopes, fears, and angers in memories of a father. Though God is not like my stepfather I suppose He instills hopes, fears, and anger as well—but on a different scale.  I understand the thought behind this verse, but I will have to switch gears on my thinking.  I still like my “coach” analogy, but I suppose I should think of it as a different approach and not in context of that verse.

I am a “Lord of the Rings” nut!  I love these books, including the “Hobbit”.  There is so much said about life underlying in these beautiful books.

Anyway, I was thinking about when Gandalf falls in the mines of Moria, and the looks on the faces of the Frodo and the companions as he is most certainly meeting his doom.  The expression on their faces was not a look due to loss of love for a coach, or a guide, but a different kind of love—perhaps for a dear loved one–perhaps like a father.  Their faces told so much.

I was also thinking about Denethor, in the “Return of the King“…not as a father, but as a comparison to myself.  Denethor was overwhelmed by the forces of depression that Sauron inflicted on him.  I, too, let the Evil One do the same with me.  Like I have said before, I let the evil one tell me that I am worthless and that life is meaningless.  My mind is like the palantir, a place of deception.  The evil one uses it to show me only what he wants me to see—that I am worthless.  This allows me to live in despair rather than the goodness of great joy and light.  Like Denethor, I continue to battle the great forces of evil, but when the battle is really at hand—I want to flee.

Denethor was blind to so many things: hope, courage, and love.  He grieved so much about the passing of his son Boromir dying that he could not fix his eyes on anything positive.  Gandalf says something like, “Despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt…”

I am like that with my hurts from my past.  Instead of fixing my eyes on Jesus, I dwell in my past.  This leads to great despair.

To make problems worse, Denethor sends Faramir out to do his job. The job which Denethor should be doing himself—to battle against evil one.  When Faramir comes back to his father, and he is thought to be mortally wounded; it is only then that Denethor begins to regret what he has been doing—that he was only thinking of himself.

This last loss breaks Denothor’s spirit.  He thinks only of suicide.  He has no hope.  But in reality there is hope, but he is too blind to see this.  In his fit of insanity he has his soldiers build a pyre for him to be placed upon.  He feels that he deserves this kind of death because he has been dishonorable.

I kind of understand this feeling.  I have felt that same fit of insanity, and shamefulness.  It is hard to get out of this state when it seems that everything is spiraling, and who would come to save you.

But like Christ to me, Gandalf does come to try and save Denethor.  Gandalf rebukes Denethor.  He tells Denethor, “Authority is not given to you, Steward of Gondor, to order the hour of your death…And only the heathen kings, under the domination of the Dark Power, did thus, slaying themselves in pride and despair, murdering their kin to ease their own death.”

Gandalf was trying to tell Denethor that he did not have this right to kill himself; but, Denethor does not listen.  In the end, we  know what happens to Denethor…he chose death over joy.

Thus later after Denethor’s death, the conversation between Gandalf and Pippin and Pippin says, “I did not think it would end this way.”

Gandalf replies, “End?  No, the journey doesn’t end here.  Death is just another path, one that we all must take.  The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.”

Pippin says, “What?  Gandalf?  See what?”

Gandalf replies, “White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.”

You see, there is hope amidst the darkness.  How wonderful is that?  I am trying so hard to hold onto this thought.  I must pray for strength.  I am still in the beginning stages, and will continue on my grand journey.  I am going to continue to submerge myself into His healing waters–into His word, and prayer.

My friend, Jeff Judson, once told me, that he didn’t see it as a curtain between life and death, but a curtain between our current false perceptions and truth as God made it. “So when we actually lean into our problems, face them head on with the power of the Holy Spirit, they turn out to be just curtains of rain.  They are opaque and seemingly solid, but when we walk through them into the arms of Christ, they are just a curtain of water, and our delusions are washed away with the water of the spirit as we step through the curtain”.

He asked me, “Who would want to live in a fake world of lies and distortions?  So why do we choose to do just that in our daily lives?”

With knowing this I should never feel threatened by the forces of darkness that surround me.  Jesus was declared the victor over evil, and there is hope.  That is not to say that I won’t have bad days; but, it is nice to know that I can be free of that bondage.

It’s like the side view mirror on a car that says…”Hope: objects in mirror are closer than they appear”.  The object of my desire is hope, and it’s closer than I think.

“…and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” and  “When you were dead in your sins and in the circumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.  He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.  And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”                                                 ~  Colossians 2:10, 13-15

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Another Brick in the Wall

It is that time of year…getting close to high school graduation.  There is a lot of excitement, anticipation, and relief that leads up to and follows this important milestone in life.  When I checked the mail today,we received an invitation to one such event.  My mind wandered and I couldn’t help but to remember my high school graduation…many, many years ago.

I was thinking about how we voted for “Most Likely to Succeed”, “The Funniest”, and of course the “Class Song”.  It seems our class was a little divided at the time on what should be the class song.  There were several who wanted Pink Floyd’s, “Another Brick in the Wall” and others that wanted the theme song to Lavergne and Shirley, “Making Our Dreams Come True”.   I will tell which one was chosen in a bit.

Today, while I was laying in my hammock, I was listening to the K-Love radio station, and Natalie Grant‘s song “Human” came on.  All at once all of these emotions and thoughts came swirling into my head.  They were actually interrupting my hammock time; therefore, I got up and thought I should write this before I forgot some important points…because I am getting to the age that I forget lots of things.

Now where was I?  Oh yeah, Natalie Grant’s song.  I have heard this song many times; but, I don’t think it ever made as big impression on me as it did today.  I am including part of the lyrics because it leads up to a thought I had.

Natalie Grant’s “Human

Every life has a choice to rise up to fill the void.
Every heart has a mission and we are called to be human.

We gotta do better than this ’cause we only got one chance to make a difference.
We gotta do better than this ’cause we only got one life that we’ve been given.

A little love, a little kindness, a little light in this time of darkness.
It’ll be what makes us different.  It’ll be what makes us human.
I’m human, you’re human, we are human.

We are marked with His image and we are scarred with indifference.
Maybe now we should listen; hear the cry of God‘s children.

It’ll be what makes the difference.  It’ll be what makes us human.

Wow!  Isn’t this wonderful that God has given us life, we are made in His image, and we all have a chance to make a difference…because we are human.  Will it hurt us show a little love and kindness toward others?  What about those (like me) who have sinned?  What about those who have been sinned against due to sexual abuse,domestic violence,  addiction, or maybe made fun of because they are different?  Would it hurt us to give a little of His Light to shine in a time of darkness for others?

Survivors, of any type of brokenness, often seek answers to spiritual questions from non-spiritual sources.  Most often this happens because they have been pushed away by people who said they were Christians (like me).  I am guilty of raining down on someone rather than being a ray of sunshine.  Sometimes pushing one away is easier than acknowledging the pain that another may have experienced.  This may cause more wounds which prolongs the healing process.  Sometimes the scarring for the survivor covers much of their body, and they may begin to hide their goodness deep inside.

You know  I claim to be an okay Christian, but guess what?  I sin and make mistakes all the time.  I’M HUMAN!  I don’t always reach out when I should.  But, on the flip side, I am also a survivor.  In some ways, we all are survivors of some sort of battle that may be unbeknown to us.

Because we are human we are in constant battle with the prince of darkness, and we need to remember to put on the full armor of God for protection.  God provides us with many pieces of armor; but, the belt of truth is an important place to start.

The definition of “truth” is the state of being sincere, in accordance with fact and/or reality.  We all desire to know the truth…especially His truth.  We want to know that His mercy and grace is real  no matter what secret we may have.  We want to know that we will not be rejected by Him even when our past comes to Light in this present darkness.

Others may claim that they understand what you have been through and how you feel– even though they may have never been through anything like that.   But, remembering that we are all human, each of our experiences are unique to us and the situation.  We all have a certain degree of understanding of each other’s pain.  Nobody’s experiences should be taken lightly.

Being human, we all have many different strengths and weaknesses.  The good news is that  co-habiting in this world together, we are able to share them with each other.  Unfortunately, some may not appreciate other’s weaknesses over their own strengths…but that usually means they may be overlooking their own weakness.

I believe God places people in our lives to help bring out these strengths.  Sometimes, others may have to work hard to bring them out…more like pulling, and sometimes it can be as little as a word of encouragement, or prayer.  I will say that establishing a trusting relationship can help; but not always necessary.  Either way, one can make a difference in another person’s life by doing as little as random acts of kindness.

Know that “Trust can take years to build, but only a second to break.”  When trust is broken one, or both parties, may feel that they have been betrayed.  A person can be good, and still betray the matter of someone’s heart; for instance, look at Peter denying Christ.

Betrayal is devastating; but, when those you thought to love you betray your trust…the pain is always worse!

When we become wounded we want to retreat and hide rather than facing our fears.  We become (pardon the cliche’) “another brick in the wall.”  That is where the darkness wants us to hide.  He wants us to join him in the wall just blending and having no confidence.  The darkness begins to make the wound worse by telling us lies.  He wants us to crumble and fall.

This was when I began thinking about Pink Floyd’s song and thinking…in a way we could use the words of his song as a rebuke to Satan.  Think about it, we could change the lyrics to make our rebuke.

“…We don’t need no thought control!   We don’t need your sarcasm!”   So, Satan leave those who are wounded alone!   All and all, you are nothing compared to Him.  “All and all, you are just another brick in the wall!”

“When someone betrays you, it can become their problem as well because they probably betrayed their own conscience.”  Being wounded we must go to God to cry out for healing; but, there comes a time to go back to the betrayer and confront them. Time doesn’t heal all wounds; so, if we don’t act “quickly'”, we give Satan a foothold causing the wound to fester.  The only thing that really heals wounds is the soothing salve of His forgiveness.

This led me to think about the Gimble/Fox song “Making Our Dreams Come True”  We could take the words of this song to make new matters of our heart.  “Nothing’s gonna turn us back now.  Straight ahead and on the track now.  We’re gonna make our dreams come true.  Doin’ it our way.”

BTW, if you were wondering what became our class song, it was “Making Our Dreams Come True” by Gimble and Fox.  We took a chance and made it.  Go ahead and  take a chance trying to make dreams come true.   But, instead of “doin’ it our way”, how about we try doin’ it His way!

His way is to put on His full armor of protection, and not let those words of deceit pierce us when we are wounded.  We should try being a little “human” and make a difference in the life of others.  Don’t be “another brick in the wall”! Allow His Light to shine through you by showing a little love and kindness on someone’s brick in the wall!

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