I may have avoided writing about it last week but it seems I can’t avoid the fight of faith. All week I’ve been pestered by this persistent struggle against my propensity to feel both responsible and powerless in the face of circumstances I can’t control but which have the potential for evil (besides destroying my hopes and dreams!)
Some mornings it’s been a matter of not feeling up-to-snuff physically and just needing grace for everything! Monday mornings are often like that. For no particular reason the mundane things of my life seem suddenly daunting and I sit and ask for grace, mentally marching out in review the cares on my mind in hopes that faith will rally. And a still small voice reminds: ‘only one thing is needful’. I open to the day’s Bible reading and there it is again: “you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary”(Lk 10:41,42) and Mary has chosen it, namely to sit at my feet and listen to what I have to say, undistracted by the pressures of service. So He gives me my daily bread and forgives me my sins and another day commences.
Looking back now I realize Sunday’s sermon should have sufficed, had I held onto it. How soon I had forgotten the encouragement:
“…’You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off;’fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Is.41:10).It had been a message about being in the grip of His grace—the One who is able to do abundantly more than all we could ask or even think through His church for His own glory. I had even made myself a note to copy this verse out and stick it somewhere…
Well, the fight is on. The victory that overcomes the world is our faith. So of course it’s the target of all the zombies and vampires of the unseen realm. And they obviously know my vulnerabilities, namely my tendency to feel responsible to control things I cannot and my wimpy tendency to conclude there’s nothing I can do that will make a difference. So of course guilt and fear have a hey day. The zombies go for the brain they say—terrifying specters bent on destroying my ability to think rightly. And the vampires want to drain my blood—my life blood, the life of joy and purpose I am designed for. The whole world may lie in the power of the evil one (I Jn. 5:19) but not I! Where are my silver bullets?!
I was airing my ‘woes’ and worries yesterday to my resident counselor and best friend (the flesh and blood one who is the best thing that’s happened to me since salvation)…and he summarized with “boy, you’re sure impatient.” Ding! Well of course that’s a key point. I want my hopes, my dreams, my goals in every arena of responsibility to be fulfilled NOW. I want to see the fruit of my labors (and the ‘abundantly beyond’ bonuses of God’s favor that will go way beyond these). I want to see the fairytale endings. It’s hard to keep praying, to keep believing, to keep hoping, to keep resisting fear and doubt…if I could just see answers today, I could relax. Hmmm…. I guess that’s pretty much a case of impatience isn’t it?
Not that I haven’t heard this admonition before, mind you. Waiting is no fun. It’s a battle for me. I need the constant ammunition of the Word, like this verse above my kitchen sink which reads in part:
“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts." (James 5:7,8)
And this one I distinctly remember being spoken to me in a quiet moment plopped on a log in the middle of a scraggly clear-cut:
“Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of god you may receive what is promised.” (Heb.10:35,36)
For good reason Abraham is one of my heroes: “No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”(Rom.4:20,21) Of course he had a little detour of trying to work things out on his own steam which had disastrous consequences that have rocked the world to the present day—but even these will ultimately bow to the sovereign purpose of God and bring Him glory.
All these verses help in the fight to hold onto faith but another joined the arsenal this morning—I’m calling it my silver bullet. I woke recognizing it’s what I’ve failed to put to use and what I desperately need. Paul spoke often of this surefire safeguard. He didn’t worry about repeating himself when urging his trainees to put it into use. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, REJOICE. He said it was worth repeating because for them it was a safeguard—a sure, firm, reliable strategy. A silver bullet!
Not having much knowledge of ‘zombies’ or vampires myself (or of silver bullets) I had to research this a bit—“The silver bullet is a common form of Depleted Phlebotinum Shells. It's often called for when supernatural creatures are around for whom silver is an Achilles Heel”. ( : I figure if the enemy knows my weaknesses, I should certainly know his. This word describing how ‘safe’ rejoicing is for me, is a Greek word defined by what it is not. It will not fail, totter, fall or cheat me. I like that! A silver bullet against the zombie hordes, those fearmongering supernatural foes that are loathe to acknowledge who I am in Christ, who taunt and terrorize me with imagined woes and scandalous ‘what if’s. They cannot withstand me when I’m rejoicing in the Lord.
- He is my Redeemer--the Lord Almighty is His name!
- He is the One who is strong when I am weak.
- He is the One who grants me authority to go as a lamb among wolves with the message of forgiveness and redemption.
- He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning of my story and its ending point.
- He is the One who works all things after the counsel of His will—determined that we should be to the praise of His glory. (Eph.1:11)
- He is the One who intercedes for me, that my faith fail not.
This is someone to rejoice in!
And with that silver bullet this song came to my mind. I haven’t heard it sung in ages but it’s a winner! When it first sang through my head I wrongly substituted the words ‘Rejoice in the Lord, and be of good courage…’ for the opening line. But really, this is the point of it either way. When I rejoice in Him, I am strong!
Be strong in the Lord, and be of good courage;
Your mighty Defender is always the same.
Mount up with wings, as the eagle ascending;
Victory is sure when you call on his name.
Be strong, be strong, be strong in the Lord,
and be of good courage for he is your guide.
Be strong, be strong, be strong in the Lord,
and rejoice for the victory is yours.
So put on the armor the Lord has provided,
And place your defense in his unfailing care.
Trust him for he will be with you in battle,
Lighting your path to avoid every snare. [Refrain]
Be strong in the Lord, and be of good courage,
Your mighty Commander will vanquish the foe.
Fear not the battle for the victory is always his;
He will protect you where ever you go. [Refrain]
--Linda Lee Johnson, 1947-
A stirring classic rendition is available at:
And now I’m inspired to post lyrics above my sink and sing my way into the battle. This is incidentally quite scriptural. But that’s a story for another day. For today my freshly re-discovered silver bullet supply needs polishing…
“And though this world with devils filled, should threaten to undo us, we will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us.” –Martin Luther
Disclaimer This advice is not to be construed as applying to literal zombies. I'm told silver bullets only work for vampires...Decapitation is preferred for zombies...