Yep. They sure are.
Troubling times also test other aspects of our character and faith. That’s not news to any of you, I’m sure. We all go through our tests in life.
When we go through difficult times, the most difficult aspect to accept is the inability to see very far ahead on the road or path that we are on. The road no longer feels paved and we’re hoping that we didn’t inadvertently take some bad off ramp into dangerous territory.
Sometimes what we’re going through is just a matter of ’cause and effect.’ We do something and then we either pay for it or are blessed by it. “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” That’s physics, but it still applies in many respects to situations and circumstances around us.
Then there are those things that we cannot quite explain. Things that pile up around us like a garbage heap and we wonder, “What did I do to deserve this?”
Sometimes we can trace the garbage back to things that we’ve done. Things that we shouldn’t have done. Consequences.
Yep. I’ve had my share of those in my past, and I’m sure there are many ahead of me, as well. After all, we humans aren’t always that bright in the decisions we make.
Sometimes we stand in the midst of chaos and think back and can’t find what started it all. We stand there mute, turning in place, scoping out the near and far for why we’re in a bad situation. It’s these times in life that there may be things going on around us that we’re just not privy to; things that are not meant to be seen; things that are spiritual.
Let’s face it. We are not physical beings with spirits and souls. We are spirits and souls with physical (temporary) bodies. There are things—wars, battles, entanglements, blessings, and protections—going on that we’re just unable to see with natural eyes.
For those of us who are Christians, we believe in the infallibility of a certain Book; a life manual. A spiritual manual. And if we’re willing to read it thoroughly, we’re going to learn about the battle that is taking place around us.
It’s this fight that I enjoy writing about in my novels. It’s this fight that I do not enjoy finding myself within.
Be that as it may, I don’t have a choice. Well, I guess I do … sort of.
I could choose to be a lazy Christian and decide that being “saved” is good enough for me. I could abandon all of my friends, family, acquaintances, and the people I meet in the future to figuring all of this out on their own; leaving them in a life or death struggle without the knowledge of the Savior. If I chose this—if YOU choose this—all of the chaos could probably be avoided.
The question is, do we want to be relevant? To we want to have a purpose? The fact of the matter is that we all have a purpose. None of us was created by accident. You may have been an accident in the lives of your parents, but the moment that that little sperm-cell part of you entered the egg-cell part of you, God decided to put YOU—the spirit-and-soul part of you—into that conception. At that moment, you became an intentional creation of God with a reason for living. If you have been willing to seek and find that reason, you will find that there is a loving God who wants to reach and bless other people through you. You are His hands, feet, and mouth … if you are willing.
Those who are willing, begin to face challenges. And, sometimes, the closer that we come to fulfilling another piece of our “purpose puzzle,” the bigger the challenges that seem to invade our lives. Why? Because not everyone wants you to accomplish—to fulfill—your purpose on this pre-Heaven rock called Earth.
There is an Enemy. He hates us—he and his horde. This Enemy is determined to keep us ineffective as Christians. He is determined to derail our Christian walks. He is working to make us bland and lazy and self-oriented. If we keep our eyes upon ourselves—especially on our own comfort—we are going to want to remain in places of comfort; our comfort zones. But walk out of that zone and you’re a prime candidate for the Enemy’s focus.
So, a question looms. Do we want to be effective for God, reaching other people for the Kingdom of God; helping people to find that love and grace that God wants to bestow upon them? Or do we want to remain comfortable and out of the reticles (gun sights) of the Enemy?
Once we come to know these two questions we can no longer claim ignorance, and a decision is automatic. Doing nothing equates to the comfort zone and accepting the challenge equates to entering the war zone. One is easy, but leaves us feeling without value. The other is difficult, but incredibly rewarding.
As for me, I’ve chosen the more difficult zone. I desire to see as many people come into the Kingdom of God as possible, being a lifeline to people heading down the highway. You know which one. Sometimes this type of decision leads to all kinds of visible and invisible repercussions.
The repercussions in my life at the moment seem to have come out of nowhere. My job position was eliminated, resulting in me also being eliminated. I’ve had a draft of funds from a checking account that was unauthorized (by a company that thought it had the authorization) that left me hundreds of dollars in the red (until all of the financials get straightened out). And yesterday my car died on the Interstate (I don’t know if it’s reparable or not, yet). As a result, I’ve been standing in place turning around, wondering “What did I do to deserve this?”
It feels like an attack. It feels like something that’s happening in the invisible realm, what I’ve coined in my novels as the Otherealm. To that, I say, “Okay. I’m glad I’m read up on the tactics of the Enemy.” It used to be that I would be terrified to be in this type of position. But I’ve come to know both the Enemy and my God better. AND … I’ve got brothers and sisters around the world who are willing to step into the fray and battle the Enemy both with me and for me.
That’s what we do. We are Christians. We are called to love one another, and when the time comes, to fight for one another. Some people absolutely LOVE stepping into the war zone on someone else’s behalf. These people are called intercessors, and the are AWESOME! They will fight until they know the battle is won. They are so close to the Holy Spirit that they “hear” what direction to face, what spiritual tactic to use, what words to speak. They are warriors!
Not all of us are intercessors (by calling), though we can step into intercession for a particular situation. Others hear a call to pray, and though they may not be on their knees very long, they are very passionate about the short battle that they are willing to fight on behalf of another. Others are gifted with the resources to help others in the midst of a fight, providing weaponry (encouraging Bible verses, encouraging words, “words of knowledge,” or “words of wisdom”), while others provide tangible resources to help lift the one who is being attacked. We are ALL important to the one who is being attacked.
God has seen fit to use me in all of the above roles over my lifetime. It’s amazing to see the results that take place. Sometimes, though, the results don’t come quickly for the one for whom we pray. So … we persist. We persist because we care. Because we love. Because God first loved us.
So often in life we hear people say, “When it rains, it pours.” It’s as if they are accepting defeat. It’s as if they are not capable of seeing life as anything other than a “series of unfortunate events.” I refuse to see life in that way.
When it rains in my life, I anticipate an outpouring of love, concern, and warfare from my brothers and sisters in Christ. When I see rain in the life of another, I see it as an opportunity for me to love, to show concern, and to do warfare.
Yes, we Christians should be viewing life differently than those who do not know God. Because … “When it rains, we out-pour.”