Saturday, October 4, 2014

Of Chickens and Courage

Roosters might decorate our weather vanes, and hens contribute to our kitchens, but chickens do not fight giants.  Furthermore, I have never known a chicken to be a school mascot.  Go chickens!  It just does not carry the right ring or implications.

At our recent ladies' retreat, I received a door prize.  And it was none other than, drum roll . . . a chicken.  Others received cute little notebooks, ceramic paper weights, or chocolate.  I thought, how appropriate, since the talk I am about to present has much to do with courage.  God does have a sense of humor.  

Since April I've been engaged on the front lines of a battle.   Very real and tangible, it has required a tremendous amount of courage.  However, now that I am on the tail end of it, when I would like to sit back and enjoy the spoils, God has called me to yet another.  Only this one is not quite so visible or easily measured.

Sometimes God brings me right up to the edge of an issue and I say, "No, I just cannot tackle that battle right now."  My heart quivers with fear and all I can see is this enormous giant.  Overwhelmed, I turn back to my complacent state, content with my wilderness wandering.  It is safe here, requiring no risk. 

God is so very understanding and filled with compassion.  He gently leads, sometimes waiting years before turning us to once again face that same giant.  Aware of our weakness and fears, He knows that ultimately real joy is found in the place of victory and obedience.   

If only we could see who's side we are on!  Sometimes I live in pathetic defeat, not because God is unwilling or unable to come through for me, but because I refuse to surrender to the steps required to overcome. 

Surely, when God says, "sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet," referring to Jesus, He is not just giving lip service.  (Heb. 1:13)  And when God says, "all authority in heaven and on earth is given to me," He means it.  (Matt. 28:19)

What if I dared to trust God for the impossibility?  What if I took a step of faith . . . and another . . .  and another.  What if I dared to face the giant and expend the energy required to fight?  What if I dared to believe change could happen? 

Although it is crucial to pray and depend on the Lord, trust does not mean I expend no effort on my part. 

When Joshua led the children of Israel into the promised land, there were impossible road blocks to overcome, enemies to fight, and hard work to sweat.  And yet, this was the place of joy!  Those who wandered in the desert for another 40 years, refusing to fight, never really lived.  In fact, they died for lack of faith.

Never have I known so much delight as in this place of fighting giants.  We say that "in God's presence is fullness of joy," without thinking about what it really means.  (Psa. 16:11)  The surrendered life, and the one willing to take a risk into scary obedience is the one who lives in His presence.  That is where I want to be. 

Over the last few months, God has been making these truths a reality in my experience.  Although I spoke of this at our recent ladies' retreat, I've been struggling to share it here due to the delicate nature of the topic.  Furthermore, I have not arrived and could easily regress.  Yet, to share my own personal story is in itself a step of faith, and I believe God would have me take that risk.  In the coming days, be looking for my testimony on overcoming a giant. 

After all, I don't want to be a chicken!   

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