So I’m sitting here after having to reply to one of ‘those’ emails.
You know the ones, the ‘if you don’t do what I want, there will be consequences‘ emails.
There’s no feeling of victory. No feeling of relief. In fact, there’s more of a dread at what their reply may be. There are times that I’d rather have a broken phone unable to receive stuff. The irony is that not knowing what the response will be is somehow worse. It’s annoying that our minds run ahead and fill every possible blank future space with imaginings of the worst case scenario. Yet Jesus commands us not to worry. Have you ever felt like that is the most unreasonable command in the entire bible?
Maybe even writing this is me trying to process the fact that until this is resolved, I’ll be somewhat distracted in every situation. That’s especially an issue when the first thing on the radar tomorrow is conducting a funeral.
But the strangest thing is that for some reason, the one thing I cannot get out of my mind is that years ago when I was rushing to finish assignments on time, or sitting in lectures on ancient Greek and Hebrew or preaching for the first time at a small chapel service….I never imagined I’d be writing on this sort of thing.
Never imagined it.
And I don’t know why.
What do you do when you feel under siege? I ask that as a deliberately open-ended question because I think we all do at times. I’m not even talking about what is objectively going on but rather simply how you feel.
For the Christian, it’s tempting to jump straight into an assertion of spiritual attack and it may possibly be the case. (We’ll come back to that in a second.) But haste often costs us a lesson. I guess for me at the moment the lesson is summed up by a Psalm I’ve been reading:
Psalm 30:6-8 When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.” 7 Lord, when you favored me, you made my royal mountain[c] stand firm, but when you hid your face, I was dismayed. 8 To you, Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy:
David was a pretty gifted guy. I can imagine that he might have been at risk of getting a little cocky. It’s amazing that we see in the middle of scripture an admission. An admission that when everything is rosy, we tend to get a little overconfident. Right up until things go wrong in a context where God seems distant and all of a sudden, bang, our illusion of control is shattered.
God ultimately uses the realities of a sinful world to remind us of our contingency upon him. What if it is a healthy thing to every now and then, lose a sense of security, to feel under siege?
Why? Becuase it purifies our worship. Have you noticed what this psalm was for? It was written for the dedication of the temple, the place of worship. Now two things; 1 in the New Testament age, we are the ‘temple’ of the Holy Spirit as he dwells within us. 2, make no mistake; worship is war. Worship is a form of attack against the powers of darkness.
Those at Waratah would have heard me say before that we need to be careful linking every single inconvenience in life to spiritual attack. No, Satan is not out to steal your parking space. He is however out to get rid of your communion with God. That’s because there is no greater proclamation of the truth of the gospel than even one life completely at rest in the care of the Father.
If you are under siege, whether it is merely the results of a sinful world or direct Satanic attack, maybe it’s the perfect opportunity to repent of how cocky we can get when everything is peachy.
I’m coming to the firm belief that the Christians who will survive in a post-Christian atmosphere will be the ones that are able to live lives at rest in spite of being under siege. As I reflect on that, I can redeem the tension for a reason and at least make an informed guess at why God might be allowing certain things for my ultimate good.
In this case, a victory is being won against the self and it’s paranoid desire to protect…… itself at all costs. I remember an obscure carpenter once saying: whoever loses their life for my sake will find it (Matt 10:39). If that is the case, then maybe the ability to worship, to love others, to respond to the commands of Jesus is the greatest counter attack we can mount.
Sometimes the best attack is to abandon defense…and repent.