Day 16 | This Lent is for Clarity
Man the ramparts; watch the road;
dress for battle; collect all your strength."
- Nahum 2:1 ESV
Wondering if anyone else out there can relate to this verse, as I can right now. Always loved it because I tend to be the too busy, overly committed, spread-too-thin type, and the idea of the Enemy as a "scatterer" has often rung true and has helped convict me many times back into a place of greater balance and rest. But right now I feel it down deep in a different way.
Whether it's the information flood, the craze of social media response (#toiletpapercrisis, am I right?), growing government recommendations and restraints, plus regular life and caring for people on top of all that, sometimes I feel like someone has yanked the rug out from under us and we're left scrambling to get up under a downpour of tumbling books, pillows and household bric-a-brac, trying to just make some sense of it all. Scattered? YES. Scattered physically as a people when we can't gather together. Scattered emotionally yet hoping to care for each other. Scattered mentally as we do our best to make wise decisions and put one faithful foot in front of the other.
It's honestly made me a bit angry as I've thought about it this week because there has been SO - MUCH - GOOD God has been doing around here. Not just in our church, mind you, but in many churches across the Pacific Northwest region (in addition to our own!). The stories have been pouring in, and it's exciting, you guys. People are coming alive in a new way, they're getting vulnerable with each other, they're learning to worship more deeply and honestly, confessing secrets and bringing bondage into the light with each other, listening for God's voice like they never have before. Getting FREE. Then they're leading others into greater freedom and healing too. YOU all are doing this. And I'll tell you right now the "scatterer"... (and I won't even give him a capital S on that title, by the way) ... he doesn't like it when the people of God get free and clear on some things then start walking others out of bondage too.
As we navigate our days these next few weeks, doing our best to make wise decisions, stay healthy, and care for our "near ones," don't forget we've got an opportunity to go to battle here, both for ourselves and for others.
Man the ramparts.
Watch the road.
Dress for battle.
Collect all your strength.
Maybe take a minute each morning and read through Ephesians 6:10-18, the "armor of God" passage. Or Isaiah 26:3 on "perfect peace" that Pastor Robin reminded us of yesterday in our Sunday service live stream. Or 2 Timothy 1 on not having a spirit of fear. Find a clarifying, anchoring banner verse for yourself. Then get your clarifying verse on each morning, whatever it is and remind yourself of it often. Post it around the house where you can visually see it. Memorize it, quote it, sing it. (Yes, even if you have to make a silly song up.) You might even want to use this seemingly endless stream of "not a school-night" nights with your kids to catch up on The Lord of the Rings trilogy or The Hobbit or another favorite war movie perhaps. Then get your inner warrior on.
Father, let us not lose ground during this season of pulling back and slowing down. May we instead use it as an opportunity to dig in and center more in you, to learn how to better rest, to better love on and lead our families and close ones to your living water. May we serve others well when we feel we can and give generously in a time others may be in greater need than we are. Focus us and bring us the clarity that only adversity can introduce us to. Let us come out stronger, more unified, and more like you on the other side of this. Amen and amen.
Question for you if you want to respond in the comments - What's your favorite war movie? And have you ever thought to view it through the lens of our spiritual battle, searching for meaning and spiritual symbolism perhaps? If so, I'd love to hear a favorite scene or meaningful quote that inspires you to "get your warrior on"!
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." - Romans 12:12
Freedom and grace,
p.s. Love to have you email email@example.com to share with us any praise, encouragement, or prayer requests you may have during this time, and we'll be taking time to pray and respond.
Listen to our worship song of the day, No Longer Slaves, below or find it here on Spotify on our 2020 Lenten Worship Playlist, growing daily one song at a time.
Tossed in all directions.
Unsure where to turn,
which way to go.
Separated from those I love,
And I forget...
There is a scatterer.
An enemy at work.
I think it is just me.
Just my life.
Just the way it is.
There is not only a scatterer,
but there is one who gathers.
One who brings together.
One who joins.
Joins with me.
I must remember him.
Call on him.
Cry out to him in the midst of the scattering.
And he will be my strength.
He will strengthen me as I resist the scatterer.
He will strengthen me as I man the ramparts.
He will strengthen me as I watch the road.
He will strengthen me as I dress for battle.
I have but to call on him.
For he has done good.
He is doing good.
He is for good.
And his good cannot be scattered!