October 19, 2012

Back To The Front

[I'm re-posting this almost exactly a year to the day. Surprisingly, I thought last year was really bad and couldn't have gotten much worse. I was wrong. The last three or four months have been hell on earth and show no sign of easing. I suspect we are close to wherever the Lord wants us as the battle has now become dogged and pitted against us. School is nearly done. Ministry job offers are more serious. Impact in ministry is more profound as I am being taken much more serious when expounding on the Bible in and outside the Church. We/I know that people are being reached with the Gospel. Then comes the counterinsurgency/counterattacks: Injuries, alienation, health, deaths, stress, loss, financial dilemmas, family ...everything. The enemy is in a Battle of the Bulge or Tet Offensive with us right now. Resistance is coming from all over but unlike last time there is some concerted help that comes from unexpected places. Christian friends and even some non-Christian acquaintances are helping out through what appears to be sovereign grace at work. Still...the continuous rounds from the enemy continue to pound our position. We never really left the war we just have been deployed to a new front or are getting hit on yet other unexpected ones.]

The commands from above remain the same...

"...repack, restock, redeploy...prepare to move back to the front. There are no reinforcements coming. It's up to you son. May the Lord God and His grace go with you. Move out!!!"

"Yes Sir"

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Battle Fatigue 2012

I am not necessarily sure why I chose to actually advertise this but it seems somewhat appropriate for now. It’s almost as if I feel compelled to fire back at the powers and principalities that are tormenting and provoking. Frankly I must be nuts because I probably am inviting more attacks in the form of snarky comments and mockery. So be it.

The last time I wrote like this I sensed that we are barking up a tree that the “powers and principalities” do not like. Now I know we are on the right path. We're encountering nothing but resistance. I also believe simultaneously that the Lord is trying to have me learn something from it all too as He is Sovereign. The obvious assaults have surfaced ever since we started the giving more of our time to ministry, occasional preaching , teaching studies and ironically, started posting some of the "Hard Sayings" on SoulJournlaer (i.e.:progress in the ministry). My family and I are literally in a spiritual and physical version of chess with hand grenades. Every time my wife or I make a move we are being hammered as if someone or something heads us off at the pass. When we run into these obstacles it literally is explosive. At the risk of sounding paranoid…I will continue.

People that should probably not be able to do the things they are doing and know the things they are knowing are working wittingly or unwittingly against us. Some are close enough to know inside (personal) information about us and use it to work against us. It is as if they are being fed the ammunition belts of information and spiritual mortar to rattle our foundations. The emotional shrapnel is beginning to impede each and every step we try to take. The drain is actually becoming physical. We often feel run down at the end of some of these days that are the equivalent of a meat grinder. Our response has been the same, forge ahead and no retreat. Lean into the obstacle head down, grunt and head-butt if necessary to get through. We have no choice, we know the repercussions of disobedience.

It has gotten to the point that even those that believe they are helping sometimes cause more damage than they fix. I realize many believe they are doing things with the best intentions but even people with good intentions can cause harm. Through no fault of their own, the motives or actions of others have become suspect. It is a nasty situation when you cannot be sure who or where the enemy fire will come from next time. It is really really hard to discern whether or not what looks like help or the hand of grace today will become an impact from the fist of wickedness tomorrow (or a knife in the back). Until we work through the individuals one-by-one on a case-by-case basis, my wife and I have hunkered down. Life is has become a lonely and isolated place. Luckily we were warned that when we make any progress in the ministry it will be a hard won battle with casualties. We have pulled in our friends and circled the wagons so to speak but stray projectiles are getting through and causing damage.

This is spiritual…and it is war right now. [insert mental images and mental audio of battle here]

Edification from others is turning to condescension. INCOMING!!!
Exhortation is turning into put-downs or demands. MAN DOWN, MAN DOWN!!!
Advance-Retreat-Advance-Retreat-HIT THE DECK!! DIG IN!!!

If it appears I have exaggerated it is because the help and hell are so blurred right now that some of these things are indistinguishable from one another. To some extent we have resorted to reading into things as an act of self-preservation and it has made relationships strained. We don’t like trying to read and discern people and would rather take them at their word but I do not believe that is not possible right now and still be able to play it safe. We run the risk of reading people incorrectly when discerning whether they are friend of foe.

I personally would compare it to spiritual blindsiding. Many times these things come at us in a series of events or with a staccato frequency (like machine gun fire). It is a literal crossfire that is often a mix of hostile and friendly fire. At times it feels as if we just need to duck or sprint for cover because we cannot tell if the snipes are coming from in front or from behind us since there are too many to tell them apart at times.

This stinks. (not the word I wanted to use but this is a Christian web site)

We expected the attacks from the outside and to some extent we even expected them from within. The ones from within though are coming from sources we did not expect and are coming from all quarters in a criss-crossing pattern. We/I feel confused because we/I cannot tell which fire is coming from where - friendly or hostile. It feels like we are waltzing through a mind field with clown shoes on right now while copper and lead whizzes past our heads.The only assurance of clarity, peace of mind and truth is in the Bible and prayer right now. Everything else is suspicious until its source and motive has been discerned. I sense the battle lines are drawn and every inch of ground that is now taken for the Gospel will be met with dogged resistance. We now need to figure out whether it is time to go on an offensive or fall back to defensive position and dig in our heels. We’re opting for the latter. It’s starting to feel like we need to plant our pike in the ground and challange whatever it is to charge us.

My issues mostly stem from spiritual sources, of this I am convinced but although these are the sources the end results are manifesting in financial areas and others. Like I said we are under siege and bulwarks are buckling. I need prayer from you folks.

I personally pray (alone and with my wife) until I've broken a sweat (literally) and the only words that continue to pop into my head is "sin" and "Bible". The rest has been left to us to figure out...so I give the information to others I trust so they can decrypt it and the best answer that has come up is.... that we personally need to teach others of the gravity their sin so the Spirit can convict them. This in turn will urge them to the only answer they have available to them...the Holy Writ...the Bible. It as if God is giving us/me bits and pieces and then telling us to "go figure it out". All the while we’re trying to discern if this is God, our sin haunting us, or Satan's brood (vipers).

I realize there are others like us that have it as bad if not worse and we pray for them too. They are brothers and sisters in arms. All of a sudden the spiritual realm that I have barely acknowledged in the past or treated in a passe manner is wreaking havoc and  inflicting real damage in our lives and we are a little bewildered by it all. We are often figuratively fighting the darkness to assure whatever is there does not come forward...but if it does... 

Please pray for my family so I have time to spiritually reload. It is all becoming a little much and fatigue (battle) is setting it as this is all extremely stressful. We end each day with a 1000 yard stare. When we’re down the evil of this world seems to kick us in the face and knock our teeth out adding insult to injury. We are praying for fresh “reinforcements” in prayer. We are also praying for “supplies”. I know that we serve a Sovereign God and King and are loyal to Him. I know in the end He will overcome all. Unfortunately, right now we live in a Kingdom that is in rebellion against our King and therefore we are hated for honoring Him. We see glimmers of promise in this and know things are going be alright but right now life is giving us a real attitude and I worry about my wife and children over the long haul as this does not appear to be easily resolved.

Writing about this has helped me be more "at ease".

"Pray. Rest and trust in the Lord. Carry on. Sooner or later the enemy line will break. The Lord is on our side. Reinforcement is on its way...."

"Yes Sir, yes Lord."

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