Lighthouse on Bolivar Island from Galveston Ferry - Galveston, TX

Even good soldiers get tired

Life can feel like a never-ending battle. Somedays, I think it is. I love the television show 24, and while I have never had a day as bad as Jack Bauer’s, I can identify with him because the storytelling is somewhat reminiscent of real life. You have good days; and you have bad days. You have days when you make progress, when forward momentum is possible; then you have days when you go backward, where it’s just a struggle to survive.

And I don’t know about you, but I get tired of fighting. I get tired of trying to stand up under the heavy weight of responsibility I have. And those days where no matter how hard I fight I can’t win, I can despair pretty easily, I’m sorry to say.

I was feeling so blue the other day, just tired and weary. On days like that I try to remember that God can do anything and nothing is too big for Him. But even as I was remembering how powerful God is as I was driving into work, I just couldn’t shake the worn-out feeling. I just wondered if I was doing what I was supposed to do, if I’m living the way I’m supposed to live, working where I’m supposed to work.

When I get tired and I feel like I can’t fight anymore, I start to despair and wonder if I’m going the wrong direction. And as I was driving, a song came over the radio that I’d heard many times. And when it released, it meant a lot to me, but that morning, it really struck me. The stong is “Strong Tower” by Kutless. And it comes from a verse in Scripture, and if you’ve ever heard the song, you know it’s powerful.

Lighthouse on Bolivar Island from Galveston Ferry - Galveston, TX

Lighthouse on Bolivar Island from Galveston Ferry – Galveston, TX

Proverbs 18:10.

The name of the Lord is a strong fortress;
    the godly run to him and are safe.

I don’t retreat. Like ever.

I rarely back down in situations where I feel like I need to be strong, and especially when it comes to Scripture. I don’t like conflict, and if I suspect someone wants to start a fight about it, I’ll generally back off. But when it comes to issues in life or at work or just in general living, I don’t falter.

I’ve always lived with a “good soldier” mentality for a Christian. 2 Timothy 2:3 says: “Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” And I’ve tried to do that. Good soldiers don’t complain. Good soldiers don’t give up. Good soldiers never run away.

But even good soldiers get tired.

Independence is a good thing. Not relying on other people is a good thing. But it’s not the best thing. I’m an independent person; I think I’ve said that before. But I have a terrible habit of trying to do everything all by myself. I have this deep-seated fear that if I ask someone for help, they’ll think I’m weak or that I can’t take care of myself.

But that’s not the case. Life is a battle, and if you belong to Christ, you are one of God’s soldiers. And we are called to do warfare, not with people but with the spiritual forces that run rampant in our world. We have to fight it every day, and not just the influences of Satan in other people but also in our own lives. And we can’t do it alone.

We need each other. And we need God. And on those days when the battle is just too much, God is a strong tower we can run to for rest and safety and healing. And if He didn’t expect to need Him, He wouldn’t have it available to us.

And I’m sure this is elementary, but it’s the simple truths that mean the most. And as I was driving that one day, listening to this song, I guess I just realized that it’s okay to step back and admit that I’m tired and tell God that I need help. I don’t have to power through every circumstance and every challenge and fight to the bitter end when I have no strength left. That’s not the way we’re supposed to fight. We’re supposed to rely on God for His strength. We’re supposed to remember where our strength comes from to begin with.

So don’t hesitate to run to Him if you need a break. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s good to remember that we can’t do everything. Step back and stop trying to fight. Get off the front lines. And just have a conversation with Him. Get our your Bible and start reading. Or listen to music that praises Him. And I guarantee you’ll find something that will encourage you and that will remind you that God really does know what He’s doing.

Being protected doesn’t mean being safe

Today’s verse is Psalm 119:114.

You are my refuge and my shield;
your word is my source of hope.

What an awesome reminder to start the week with! I’m not comfortable telling you how many times I have tried to take refuge in something else other than God. I’ve used finances as a shield. I’ve used health as a shield. I’ve used family and friends and even religion as a shield to protect me from things that scared me.

God is our refuge and our shield. At least, He should be. When you take refuge in God, though, that doesn’t mean that He’s going to protect you from everything. I think we get that confused sometimes. What it means is that He isn’t going to put you through something you won’t survive without His help. Some of those experiences He allows you to go through may be unpleasant–and it may even feel like He didn’t protect you–but you can know that whatever you’re going through is something He can use to bring glory to Himself and to bring you closer to Him.

I guess a good example is my recent trip to Guatemala. I’m probably going to be using examples from that trip for the next few months but that was because it was so awesome! =)

In any case, I was totally trusting God to protect me. Now, when most people ask for God to protect them, don’t you think people want God to keep them safe from everything? Well . . . yes. And I’m certainly human enough to ask God to protect me from danger and death and disease.

So let’s say I went down to Guatemala and went back into villages full of people who hadn’t heard the Gospel before and told them (as best I could) all about Jesus. And let’s say that people got saved. And while God got me there and back again safely, when I got home I was so full of amoebas that I couldn’t leave the bathroom for more than an hour.

Did God protect me?

See, we have this idea that when God protects us we’ll always be safe. That’s not always true. God didn’t call us to live safe lives. He has called us to live for Him and that rarely means being safe.

We as Americans are all about safety. We even make our cowboys wear helmets when they’re riding bulls. Bullriding is supposed to be dangerous. Wearing a helmet when you’re riding a bull is just silly. But we want everyone to be safe.

Now am I saying it’s wrong to want to be safe? Not necessarily. What I’m saying is that I think most of the time we place our safety and the safety of our families above what God has called us to do.

Now, granted, God did give us brains. And I do believe He has called us to consider the choices that He places before us. But at the same time, I think that we need to be willing to do whatever and go wherever He tells us no matter how dangerous it might be. Because God is our refuge. God is our shield. And while He may choose to allow certain dangers past (like amoebas . . . ugh), that doesn’t mean He isn’t protecting us.

I can tell you right now that my amoebas didn’t kick in in full force until I was safely home, and that was a real blessing. I could have gotten them on the plane. Now that would have been annoying, not only for me but for all the people on the plane! lol

So whenever you’re feeling threatened or afraid, just remember that God is your refuge and your shield. And He isn’t going to put you through something for no reason. God has a reason for everything He does, and He will always be there by our side no matter what happens.