January 22, 2010

Those Pesky Land Mines 
by Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com Senior Editor

Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9

I stepped on a land mine recently, and I lived to tell.  Actually, I'm quite battered and bruised, but I was able to walk away still relatively intact. 

I'm speaking figuratively, of course, as I am not engaged in military battle nor do I live in a war-torn country where there might be real, live explosive devices such as these buried in the ground.

Regardless of the specifics of the situation, I realize that all of life is really a battlefield with land mines that are set to go off at any moment, anywhere and everywhere around us.  We never know when we will encounter a situation that will blow up in our faces on a weekly, or even daily, basis.

I think it's no coincidence that I've also been continuing my study of Psalms 23:1—pondering more on "rest" and "lying down in green pastures"—as well as considering my priorities and private world by rereading the book, simplify:  106 ways to uncomplicate your life, by Paul Borthwick (Authentic Publishing).

But back to land mines … if you've ever been blindsided by one, then you know it can leave you scarred.  And it will mess with your mind, your heart and your resolve.

Isaiah 43:2 came to me shortly after I was hit:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

Notice this verse does not say "if" but "when."  That means we can expect to encounter a land mine or two.  But should we then live in fear?  Not engage in life?  Stay sequestered in our homes and forgo connecting with others or pursuing great opportunities?

No.  It just means we must be prepared for whatever might happen.  Being ready for spiritual battle requires time spent with the Lord and in His Word and in fellowship with seasoned believers.  And all of that requires time, which means taking a hard look at our lives, at our schedules and at our priorities.

I am learning that I really need this time in order to find "rest" in and to "wait" on the Lord.  To be the sheep who is made to lie down in green pastures.  And to soak up everything the Great Shepherd has to provide for my soul.  

Borthwick says it well in Simplify:

When we simplify—taking attention off ourselves and looking to Almighty God—we find refreshment for our spirits and relief from our tensions.  The needs of the world fall under God's responsibility.  He ordains us to participate, but our frantic pace implies that God is helpless without our help.  He sent us a Messiah (Jesus) so that we can find rest and fulfillment in Him.

It's interesting that a land mine quickly slowed my "frantic pace" and caused me to immediately find a green pasture.  This time of introspection, of quiet and of restoration has been refreshment for my weary soul.  My heart has been badly dinged, yes, but the Lord has applied a soothing balm and has comforted me with his Truth. 

Like you, I am a member of the "walking wounded" and know that each day brings forth its own unexpected disturbances and hurtful moments.  Join me in taking time to rest in the Lord today, so that we will be ready wherever we tread in tomorrow's battlefield. 

Intersecting Faith & Life:  How are you preparing yourself today for the next potential land mine in your life?  Is there clutter (activities, relationships, anything that is diverting you and impeding your Christian walk) that needs to be cleared, so that you can regularly look to the Lord and be renewed?  Make any necessary changes, and make time to study in the Word and to hear from the Father. 

Further Reading:

Isaiah 41:10
Psalms 27:1