I have been so excited to get into God’s word that last night I almost just stayed up past midnight getting started. I probably should have…might have been divine prompting…because this morning has been one mishap after another. I’m on outfit number 3. I apparently have 6 single socks with no partner…I searched with that silly IPhone flashlight everywhere I could think of and managed to knock more things over in my attempt to be quiet than you could possibly imagine. Making coffee has proven problematic but I have prevailed and it is almost ready…so in about 15 minutes this writing might actually make sense!
Yesterday my class began a new vocab list. I had forgotten what most of the words were due to our extended snow vacation (yay!) last week. One of the words was rejoice! How cool is that! I felt that it was God confirming His call to rejoice!
One of the other words was sentinel…a guard, watchman, or protector. I thought how in all my angst at this life I have forgotten about my calling as a watchman at the gate for my family.
I have always loved the picture of the Israelites rebuilding the wall in Nehemiah.
When our enemies heard that it was known to us and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each to his work. From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built. Nehemiah 4:18
What a great reminder that as we work to rebuild our families, we are to be prepared for battle. We are to have our weapons handy. We are to be armed with the word of God. We are to be ready to wield that sword of the Spirit with gusto!
But I know me…and maybe some of you…I tend to take that picture and imagine myself slaying dragons and winning battles for my family…forgetting that a little farther down in that passage is the sentence:
Our God will fight for us. (4:20b)
You know what? That sounds great to me! I’m pretty weary…a weary warrior to be sure. And God, the creator of all things, has all the power and strength I need and some.
So what am I supposed to do? What is my role in this battle for my family…for the heart and soul of myself and my children?
Being armed for battle means I’m ready to fight. I’m in a position to stand strong in the face of adversity. I’m ready and willing to follow the order of my Commander and Chief. I’m aware of the struggle, the temptations, the trials, the tests…the arrows of the evil one.
And I don’t run ahead into the battle without my Father’s leading…and my Father’s protection.
For too long I have continued to wage this war for peace in my life without taking a moment to consult with the author and perfecter of my faith. For too long I have run into battle without armor…without my sword. For too long I have relied on my own battle plans, my own strategies, my own strength…I have come to the point of exhaustion…I am wounded, weary, and worn…Medic!
In just a few short days I have felt the reviving of my soul, the calming of my heart, and the joy of the Lord infusing me with a new hope. Yesterday wasn’t amazing in any other way, except that I was ready for it. It was not easier or less stressful, but I had my weapon in hand…I had God’s word in the front of my brain. I had put it before my eyes and started the day with His perspective, not my own.
I was working armed with the knowledge that God is always with me. And when those arrows flew my way yesterday, I was able to deflect them with that knowledge. I was able to say, “I am precious, honored and loved…nothing can separate me from the love of God (not even me)…He will never (not ever) leave me nor forsake me…in all these things I can rejoice!”
And in rejoicing, I find the joy of the Lord truly is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10).