"If I say, 'I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression, and smile,' I still dread all my sufferings, for I know you will not hold me innocent. Since I am already found guilty, why should I struggle in vain?" Job 9:27-29(NIV)
This is Job's reply to his 'best friend', Bildad the Shuhite's "you must've done something wrong to God" reasoning behind the suffering and losses that Job has been afflicted with.
I attempted to write something about this section of chapter 9 yesterday, because it seemed so perfectly fitting with the Martina McBride song "Anyway" that I've been hearing a lot lately on the Christian radio I listen to, WMUZ 103.5FM. Especially with Job's emphatic "why should I struggle in vain?" comment. But the blog, conveniently entitled "Anyway" probably will never be written.
As always, God has His ideas and they usually trump mine. After all, He made everything and knows everything. I think it's a safe bet to think that He'd know what is best when it comes to speaking of His word. It hit me this morning that the 'anyway' flavor of the previous day's effort didn't give voice to God's desire for me in that verse, particularly verse 29..
A majority of the time, when I wake up in the morning, I turn my thoughts to God and spend a bit of time reflecting on a devotional or a thought for the day. Sometimes it is just a opening of the Bible and snatching a bit of His wisdom before I leave home to begin my day. Sometimes I don't have the time, or force myself to take it, and I don't reflect on His word..I spend my drive into work discussing real living situations in conversation with my Father. Kinda the "phone home for advice," conversations I think God desires with His children.
All of this is in preparation of the battle that goes on daily. Not just for the souls of those still in darkness and fear. But also for those of us who know the light and know the danger, for the enemy would take us out of the fight as muchif not more sothan those he already gets by default. I girth my armor on, grab up my sword and my shield.stopping at the door of my home to pray for protection and guidance for me and my family throughout the time we are apart in the thick of it, I step into the fray.sometimes falling, sometimes hitting the mark with the sword of truth.but always a warrior in the battle.
But there are times when I deliberately and with malice thought sabotage myself, taking myself and my skills God has given me out of the battle.claiming wounded status in the fight. Self-inflicted, but a wound none the less. As common as this is on the earthly battlefields of today, where the soldiers are just overwhelmed with fear and a desire for self-preservation, it is too often overlooked upon the spiritual battlefields. Leaders wonder why their mighty and valiant soldiers in the fight suddenly are taken out..weakening the whole unit.......is it a legitimate wound or has it been self-inflicted?
That is what God wanted me to see in these verses..just like Job, I've taken to helping the enemy take me out of the fight. Why bother to fight when so much in my world is falling apart? Why struggle when the struggle is still going to result in suffering and grief? Why not wait until that moment in time prior to my death to claim the promise of the salvation gift and live to minimize the pain of being 'of the world but not part?'
I have stabbed myself in the leg and am crying out "Medic! Medic!"
And as I wait for the Spirit to come and heal me, I am silently rejoicing in the fact that today..today, I don't have to swing the sword or hoist the shield. I can relax in the comfort of the medical tent, and nurse my wounds. I don't have to fight today..
But my heart doesn't rest, or relax. Because of the Call, because of the knowledge of the fight that rages in the hearts and minds of all humanity, my heart which was given to the Savior cannot rest.and the wound, self-inflicted and selfish, becomes unbearably painful. More so than the original wounding. And, as my accountability partner said (in what he considered an grossly inappropriate way), I become not the man of God that I am supposed to be..
But a baby. Crying out for a bottle of compassion.......
I complain and point out that it doesn't matter what I do to try and overcome those things in my life that aren't in alignment with God's will, purpose, and design for me. It doesn't matter that I know the sin, have worked to defeat the sin, and have obtained somewhat of a victory of the sin..God will not allow me to escape the consequences of my sinful indiscretions.
As Paul says in the do-do verses, "I know what to do and don't. I know what not to do and do." But when I do the "don't do's" of life, I don't want to have to pay the price of doing them..
But if I can't stop sinning (and everyone has sin in their life to overcome at anytime), then why bother to try not to? Best to just self-inflict the wound so that I can stop the necessity of battling against the foe for those in darkness and myself.
And by doing so, I give the enemy a free pass for the day. At what cost and at what loss, I may never know and it is that agony that makes my soul cry out for forgiveness for my sin, my self-protective response to the chaos around me.
In the battles I have to face, the struggle with the automobile repairs, the training and implementing what is learned, the family, the marriage, the job, and just seeking God's place in the Call He's put on my heart.....I have thrown up a flag and formed the "T" with my hands...."timeout", I don't want to play anymore.
Forgetting the valuable lessons God taught me through the agony of His Son Jesus in that garden.....It's not my will but the Will of the Father who made me that is important. It isn't battling and overcoming enormous foes that blesses the Father but the struggle itself.
Have you allowed yourself to self-inflict some 'temporary' wounds to take yourself out of the battle for the souls of those lost in the darkness of sin? Have you been struggling, but (as one of the leaders of Awakened Hearts says) not struggling well?
Let's not give the enemy a free pass in our lives today. Let's bind our wounds and stand upon the battlefield of the soul to draw a line in the sand....
Here, by the grace of the Almighty God, you shall NOT pass Satan.
I'll stand with you. Wounded, bleeding, scarred, and broken.
I will claim the victory for the Father.
Jim is a Senior Ordained Chaplain with Chaplain Service Corp. Answering the call to ministry for the sake of all men, focusing on God, Jim writes and pursues with faith the plans of His Father wherever that may lead. www.chapel-michigan.blogspot.com
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