It is so hip to be tense and foreboding, these days. Especially in the church.
I've been thinking about this, because I have every reason to be tense and even a little foreboding right now, and therefore I choose not to be. I think I shall instead enjoy a glass of wine, and be a drinker with a writing problem.
The Christian life requires stamina and perseverance and emotional fortitude - most of us know that already, because we've long since been living of the gospel. We've been going against the flow in reality, and for the only Real Reason (the gospel), rather than imagining that we're going against it because we are simply being obstinate or perhaps merely sentimental.
When my life became all about the gospel - living it, illustrating it with my decisions, my doings and my day, getting it right and getting it true, I became the target of spiritual forces.
This is no revelation - it is a firm grasp of the obvious.
Perhaps it is the Scotswoman in me, but deep down I never met a fight I didn't expect to win. When I combine this with the truth of Scripture that tells me I am more than a conqueror, all the overwrought hoo-ha about spiritual warfare just seems like so much melodrama. I mean, do we expect to lose?
Nah. Not me.
Yes, it is all about the gospel. Yes, this means things get difficult. Yes, it means losing a few battles in the process of winning the war. Yes, there is a shout going up in the spirit.
But beloved - it is the sound of victory.
No, it isn't easy. And because it isn't easy, we'd all better learn to lighten up. If I may be so bold, take it from someone who has been swinging her sword for a long time: you'll be standing in faith for something until you lay this earthly life down. Get over it, get used to it, act like you've done it before and will do it again. Pace yourself, and for Pete's sake, it isn't the end of the world until it is the end of the world.
A Scot is crazier than a run over cat. Historically, their wars were merry. No one suffered more than they in their fight for freedom, but no one had more fun fighting, either. Big hearts break big, yet we serve a God who heals them. Weeping endures for a night. But "joy cometh".
I've known a few folks who have been through what I am just now going through...some handled it with faith, while some hurled headlong into a quiet, self absorbed life of merely "coping". A very few continued to live in an others-minded fashion, while others became a drain on all who loved and walked with them. Some pressed forward, kept calm and carried on in community with the saints, while others slipped backwards into emotional instability - making unwise decisions and abrupt changes in course.
My God has promised to be my wisdom, my strength, and the stability of my times. (Isaiah 33:6)
"Steady, now." This is the grace in which I stand. I can actually rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:2)
Call me crazy. But I'd be lying if I didn't admit to being a veteran of a few wars. The current one is not the first, and won't be the last. It is by far my hardest one.
All the more reason to relax. I know...very uncool. Ask me if I care. I know what it takes to win - it takes quietness and confidence.