Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why Should You Suppose?

"But go, act, be strong for the battle. Why should you suppose that God will cast you down before the enemy? For God has power to help or to cast down." -2 Chronicles 25:8

I read this the other day and was incredibly encouraged by these words. Here's the story. The king of Judah was getting ready for a battle. He mustered thousands of men of Judah for this battle, and then he went and hired another 100,000 men from Israel, paying them silver to join the cause. A man of God came to him and essentially told him that he shouldn't have done that and that the Israelites should not go out to battle with him. Then the verse that caught my eye: "But go, act, be strong for the battle. Why should you suppose that God will cast you down before the enemy? For God has power to help or to cast down."

Amaziah's choice to hire all those extra men seemed to demonstrate something he was supposing - that God would otherwise cast him down. That perhaps only with the help of extra soldiers would he be victorious. And I think this verse grabbed my attention and tugged at my heart because, whether consciously or subconsciously, I've been supposing defeat in my own life. I head into a day, knowing that the battle against sin is a hard one, knowing also that God has given all that I need to win it, but still somehow coming to the conclusion that no matter how hard I try, my sin (most frequently my anxiety) will at some point just get the best of me, and I'll have to just try again tomorrow. Why would I suppose this? God has the power to help or cast down, and somehow I choose to believe that He will choose the latter, when over and over again in my life His help has been a very real presence. I want to suppose the BEST of my God - why would I choose the alternative?

Friday, January 7, 2011

just the sweater again...

Every so often, there is this strange sound that happens while I'm driving, kind of like a thumping, that seems to be coming from underneath me or right outside my door. Numerous times, this sound has concerned me. And numerous times, I eventually come to the same conclusion: It's just the sweater again.

See, my favorite sweater has a real long tie on it that I often leave untied, leaving it to dangle pretty low. When I get in my car and shut the door...sometimes that tie doesn't make it all the way in. It's pretty incredible, really, what a great amount of sound a small piece of fabric can make when it's whipping about down the street at 50 mph. It sounds remarkably as if my tire is about to fall off or something. It's terrifying. And what is most incredible to me is that nearly every time this happens (and I'm telling you, it's ridiculous how often it does), I first wonder, "Oh, no! What's that sound? What's wrong with my car?" before I realize that I'm wearing the infamous sweater, and that infamous tie is having another adventure just outside my door.

Lately I've been realizing the same thing about my thoughts- my anxiety, namely. So often, something stressful will come up, and I jump to all sorts of conclusions about what could come of it - like "I'll never recover from this one," "I'll lose the respect of my boss over this," "this task or list of tasks is something that I will never actually be able to accomplish," etc. In recent days, I've been able to step back a second and say, "It's just the sweater again." These hurdles are NOT the enormous disasters that I'm making them into in my mind; they are just temporary issues that will soon pass away. Like a sweater strap caught in the door, my mind gets caught up in these crazy cycles. Not quite as easily solveable, perhaps, as opening a car door and freeing a strap, but still usually far less serious that what I've conjured up in my imagination.

If the devil had his way in my life, I would be so consumed with those imaginary disasters that I would never step back and just take care of the issue - my heart. This week finds me tugging at that strap, trying to take all my runaway thoughts captive and lay them before my loving Savior.