“When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” We all have faith in good principles, in good management, in good common sense, but who amongst us has faith in Jesus Christ? Physical courage is grand, moral courage is grander, but the man who trusts Jesus Christ in the face of the terrific problems of life is worth a whole crowd of heroes. Oswald Chambers
The human condition means we will hurt and be hurt. Terrific problems will be ours... sadly, what Oswald wrote years ago has shifted. Much of our character and integrity has been traded for unhealthy living and leadership. We will all suffer at the hands of fools and possibly be the fool at some point. Lord, keep us from that evil. Tyrants, fools, oppressors... sound harsh? They are and they live in our neighborhoods, workplaces, churches. They hold vigil as the evil puppeteer, holding lives in the balance. We suffer in their grasp, looking for a savior.
“Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish.”
How do we react to the evil of man? Who do we look to when we are in trouble? How do we survive when we feel our spirits crushed... and yet know the Truth that still stands? Fear and trembling can take over quickly... can I get an amen? If you are reading this, chances are you have suffered. I have not yet met a man or woman who has not been treated unfairly at some point along their journey. Some have shared crushing stories of anguish caused by others.
We can find wisdom among poets, authors, the inerrant Word of God, and even Harry... but Who will our Savior be?
“Voldemort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back!”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
God's Word is clear on Who He is and what He will do for us. Have you gone to His Word when you are attacked, criticized, maligned? He is our Protector, Deliverer, Redeemer, Shield, Fortress, Light, Refuge, Warrior. He is Merciful, Omnipotent, Wise, Sovereign, Holy, Just, Transcendent, Unchanging, Good. He is Love.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
"In the day when I called out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul." Psalm 138:3
The scriptures are rich with God's promises, amazing promises of protection. Luke 10:19 reminds us of the authority He gives us to trample the enemy. Isaiah 54:17 says, "No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgement you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me, says The Lord." Joshua 1:5 speaks, "No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage." 2 Thessalonians 3:3 "But the Lord is faithful, Who will establish you and guard you against the evil one." Deuteronomy, Timothy, Psalms, Romans, Exodus, 2 Chronicles, Proverbs, Genesis, Jeremiah, Samuel, Job, Hebrews... the list is endless. His Word is an endless supply of power for our souls. Let's speak this one out-loud today - Isaiah 41:10-11
"So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
“All who rage against you
will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
will be as nothing and perish."
OUCH! How much better to be for God than against God, yet playing God with people's lives.
I think of Matt Maher's song - Hold Us Together. If you have never listened to him sing this... do it. You will cry. A cry of joy and thanksgiving. I still believe most humans want to believe the best in each other, lift others up when we have fallen, protect, speak up for... and still love rooting for the underdog, to win the battle against the school yard bully! Mark sings...
It don't have a a job. Won't pay your bills. Won't buy you a house in Beverly Hills or fix your life in six easy steps. Aint the law of the land or the government. But it's all you need. And love will hold us together... make us shelter to weather the storm. And I'll be my brothers keeper so the whole world will know that were not alone.
It's waiting for you, knocking at your door
In the moment of truth when your heart hits the floor
And you're on your knees...
And love will hold us together
Make us a shelter to weather the storm
And I'll be my brother's keeper
So the whole world would know that we're not alone
This is the first day of the rest of your life
This is the first day of the rest of your life
'Cause even in the dark you can still see the light
It's gonna be alright, it's gonna be alright
Hold us together, make us a shelter, be your brothers keeper, so the whole world will know... it's gonna be alright. Are we living that life my friend? What would the whole world look like if we acted as our brothers keeper? In the way of wounded hearts and spirits... in the land of bullies? No one escapes the wounds Henri tells us. It's what we do with them he says that matters...
Some of you are going through deep darkness, distress caused by others, grief, anguish, pain. Will you look up, offering it to your Creator God, trusting Him to bring you out into the light, as a bright and shining example of His love and protection? Let's pray today for His favor. God's beautiful, glorious favor that He generously gives to His children... yet, we must ask with expectation and thanksgiving.
And have you forgiven those who hurt you? Don't carry that burden. Forgive and move on. Exodus 14:14, "The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace." Isaiah 49:25, "For I will contend with him who contends with you."
Will we be our brother's keeper? Will we lean in, becoming wounded healers, becoming of service to our brothers and sisters? I say YES!