The captain yelled, “All hands on deck” as the enemy came close to ram the merchant ship. Everyone knew the battle was about to begin and that some would be wounded or die the slow death from a filthy dull sword of cold and rusty steel thrust through their gut. It was brutal, and there was no way you could allow fear in.
The movie “Saving Private Ryan” was horribly graphic in showing what our soldiers endured as they landed on Omaha beach on June 6, 1944. It was World War II, and there were no guided missiles launched from miles away to clear the bunkers ahead of them. The men who assaulted the beach claimed “fear be damned.” Their friends and fellow Americans fell at their sides as they pushed on.
So often we find things in our lives that seem impossible to overcome or too scary to even attempt. Many times there are people in our lives who have told us that we could never achieve that goal or that it really isn’t for us. Fear comes and we allow it to speak into our lives. “You can’t run very far, so forget the idea of that for exercise.” “You never made it out of high school; writing a book is stupid.” Fear breaks our heart’s desires, and we fall victim to just living today as best we can and wait for the night.
But it is those moments, when the evil one speaks and crushes our spirit that we must stand and fight. There are times I just don’t allow myself to “go there” and push ahead. Almost every time I run I have that battle. For many of us it is the still quiet moments when we are alone and vulnerable that the attacks come.
Texas musician and songwriter Pat Green has a powerful song, “In the Middle of the Night,” that so clearly describes how we must be prepared for those lies. How they come to us when we are weakest.
“When there’s no one around
And the silence in your soul is the only sound
In the darkness that surrounds you
Are you hiding from the light
When you finally hit rock bottom
Will you do what’s wrong or right
You’re gonna find out what you’re made of…
In the middle of the night”
I realized that the moments when we are faced with decision are not hardest when with our friends, therapist or family. It is those times in the middle of the night, when we are out alone driving or on a trip. Those are the times the evil one comes, the pirates storm the boat. That is our beachfront in Normandy.
For me, today, having Christ and a heart for the Lord has made me a far better warrior in those moments. I have tools like the Bible and the hunger for His love, to please Him, that drives me to not click on that link, not buy that whatever, not stretch the truth, not allow fear to enter, to say no.
While on vacation or during the holidays you may be blessed to spend time with your family. I say blessed because I have lost some close to me, and as I get older the things that matter most are changing. You may be confronted face-to-face with a battle that in the past has made you weary. There may be anger toward a brother, sister, mom or dad. Maybe the old house brings back feelings you don’t like. A spirit of antagonism or frustration may be something you recognize as you cross the threshold. How long have we lived in an “it is what it is” situation? How long have we just accepted the lie that that it will never change, that they are never going to say they’re sorry, that I didn’t do anything, there is nothing wrong with it, that we can do it every once in a while, that everyone else lives this way, too? That, my friend, is where your battle begins.
I have so many things in my life that I want to do. So many amends and so many opportunities to care for others and improve how I love on those who are closest to me. Dropping out of school 40 years ago does not define me. Having had a drug problem and all the terrible things with which I lived and did all those years does not define me. Those things in your life do not have to define you. Do we have to just put our heads down and push forward some days to run those last two laps or even just get out of bed? Yes. Do we have to call on God to help us forgive those who have wounded us so deeply? For me, yes.
I have never been faced with an angry pirate wielding a rusty sword or had to charge the front lines. But the battles I do fight, the ones that are my Normandy, are real and hard and the wounds can be deep. The blessing for me today is I am equipped with tools and a Supreme Commander who knows me, my gifts and failings. He is always there even if I don’t see Him. His heart is something I can feel; it is real. And those times, in the middle of the night when I am alone, He is there reminding me I am good and smart and loved. He never lets me down. Victory.