Are you standing in the dignity and strength of God, or wallowing in the slough of despondency? I’d like to think that in the face of the Enemy, in the face of any problems you may be encountering that you are defiantly declaring to yourself and to anyone who cares to listen: “You know what? I’m still standing!” And I’d like to think that even if you are not yet in that place, you have every intention of getting there – soon.
A few months ago on my way to work, I passed a tree where a white van had crashed into it. As a result of the crash, the bark of this tree was stripped away in several places. It had become scarred by the accident. Now whilst the white van was a complete write-off, the tree into which it crashed still stands erect in its position. Granted, it is not as it was before, for now it bears the scars of a collision.
The Bible often refers to us as trees (see Psalm 1:3 and Jeremiah 17:7-8). Using that metaphor and combining it with the above-mentioned accident, if we were to bring these into the context of our every-day lives as believers, we could say that life sometimes crashes into us, yet we survive – and like this tree, we can remain standing. Similarly, when life crashes into us we bear those scars of collision. But whether the scars we bear are scars of bitterness, or scars of bitter experience depends upon us and upon our attitudes.
Whenever I pass this tree, I note the scars it received did not undermine its ability to function as a tree. I noted that it still held its branch arms outstretched to the heavens. It did not hold its arms down by its side in defeat or self-pity. And although anyone passing could clearly see its scars, no one would consider it as no longer a tree, or a lesser one, or inadequate in any way.
I believe we can learn a lesson from this. Yes, we may bear the scars of rejection, or tragedy, or a personal world that has caved in but in God’s eyes we are no less a person, no less his precious child. Can you accept this? Can you embrace this truth for yourself? Can you ignore the devil’s taunts, which whisper in your innermost being telling you that you are a helpless victim… that nobody loves you… that no one cares whether you live or die, whether you flourish or wither? Can you get up from, and lever yourself out of, that mental pit of misery?
And, as occasion demands, will you don your spiritual armour, or wrap yourself within the garment of praise and allow God to heal and revive your wounded spirit? Will you trust Him to cause all the awful, unjust and undeserved things that have devastated you, to work together for your good? Will you stop trying to work out how this will happen and when? Will you stop discouraging yourself because you can’t see how this can possibly work out in your, or your loved-ones’ favour? Can you stop peering with short-sighted pessimism into your future with those sorrow-tinted spectacles and instead, look at your situation with the clear bright eyes of faith?
Could you give God a chance to work his magic, to summon his majestic might on your behalf by stepping out of the way?
Of course you can. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens, empowers and invigorates you.
Remember, the one who strengthens you has gone through worse than you can ever experience or imagine. He has endured rejection and scars so horrendous that they make yours and mine look like mere blemishes by comparison (not that I’m belittling what anyone has suffered, or is currently going through). In Isaiah 53:5 we are told that:
…He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
He did all this for me, all this for you. Why? Because he loved and loves me. Because he loved and loves you. Because he wanted to show us by his experience that we can make it… that there is nothing any person, or any demonic being can do, which can curtail, or permanently thwart the will, plan and purpose of God for our lives, if we refuse to give in to our flesh and we stand our ground.
So, going back to my earlier questions – can you let go and let God? You can, because God’s Word says you can. The pertinent question therefore is: will you? Will you let go of your terms and submit to His?
Proverbs 3:5 says:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding.
In order to trust God, we need to have unwavering faith, or confidence in Him. He just loves it when we do. And when we do, we put ourselves into the right position to become green, flourishing and firmly-rooted trees. When we do, we put ourselves into the right position to lead fruitful lives. When we do, we can hold our heads erect and sing the high praises of God.
Dear reader, let us make up our minds to stand in God’s grace and mercy, stand in his protective power, stand in his unparalleled favour, to stand (and keep on standing) in his perfect will for our lives. Yes – let us rejoice in the fact that despite what the Enemy has thrown at us and meant for our demise, we are indeed, still standing!