EVEN IF

We are so often overcome.  Our daily lives balance on a precipice of our own making, and we are just fine as long as nothing upsets that tension.  We juggle marriage, children, work, home, personal care, rest, never-ending schedules from every possible source, church, community, extended family, interests, recreation, entertainment, trying to make God the ruler over all these areas…all while trying to give the impression that life is manageable and we’ve got this.  And we pull that off most of the time.

So it’s no small wonder that when we are honest with ourselves we feel more overwhelmed than we care to admit.  At times we feel inadequate for the task of daily living, and feel ourselves falling over the precipice when extra challenges arise. It’s easy to blame ourselves and try to be stronger, but the truth is, we are more weak and frail than we know.  We have no power against the natural progression of time, no power to actually determine the quality of our health, nor the ability to guarantee the outcome of our lives.

Isaiah spoke about the plight of His people who found themselves in captivity or hardship at the hands of an enemy.  As a nation, Israel had been unfaithful to God, and He eventually sent enemy forces to capture their kingdom and reduce the people to captivity.  Yet He heard the cries of each heart that turned back to Him, and He never deserted them in the midst of their suffering.  He said, “Can plunder be retrieved from a giant, prisoners of war gotten back from a tyrant?  But God says, ‘Even if a giant grips the plunder and a tyrant holds My people prisoner, I’m the one who’s on your side, defending your cause, rescuing your children.  And your enemies, crazed and desperate, will turn on themselves…’  (Isaiah 49:24-26 The Message)

We face giants and tyrants every day.  Some appear and leave again in a few minutes, while others live right with us, holding us in their grip year, after year, after year.  Some of them we invited into our lives and now we are helpless against them, while others invade with the force and suddenness of a spring storm, leaving devastation as they pass.

In the Gospel of Mark chapter five we read three stories in quick succession of giants and tyrants that people were helpless to fight.  The demoniac had been living in the cemetery possibly for years.  Every human effort had been made to help or restrain him to no avail.  Hopeless.  Jairus had a twelve year old daughter at death’s door who, in fact, died before Jesus could get to her.  Hopeless.  The woman in the crowd had been sick and bleeding for twelve years.  Not only had doctors not helped, they had taken all her money and left her worse off than before.  She did not even feel worthy to speak to Jesus and ask for help.  Hopeless.

But we have cause to hope.  Each of these desperate people did the same thing when they saw Jesus.  They ran to Him and fell to their knees.  They knew they were helpless and undeserving.  They submitted to His authority and begged for His mercy.  The demoniac was delivered, clothed, sitting in his right mind, and sent back to his own people to tell about God’s mercy.  The woman was recognized, her healing confirmed, and sent to live in peace.  Jairus saw his daughter raised from the dead and his fear turned to joy.

We can’t face the things in our paths.  We aren’t meant to.  But no matter what giant or tyrant we face God has not left us to stand alone.  We can come to Him, fall to our knees, submit to His ways, and ask for His mercy.  He may deliver us quickly or He may keep us where we are.  But even in the midst of trial He is the one who’s on our side, defending our cause, and rescuing our children…right now in the present tense.  Even if the giant and tyrant remain, He is working on our behalf defending and rescuing us and our children.  Our only part is to run to Him and fall on our knees, asking His mercy.  He has engraved us on the palm of His hand, and He will not forget!

 

Isaiah 49; Mark 5

 

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