Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I've been under siege for the last couple of days. It hasn't been anything earth shattering; just a constant barrage of small, irritating arrows fired in yet another spiritual battle. Some of those arrows - OK, many - have found their mark. My skin is spiderwebbed with tiny, stinging cuts. None of the individual arrows has been enough to stop me in my tracks, but when I start adding up all the little slices, I start to feel the pain:
  • Running late after work with no time for my planned dinner.
  • Having my deposit held for 7 business days (though I need the funds now).
  • Experiencing transmission trouble on the highway.
  • Doing laundry solo.
  • Washing only two loads of laundry because of a broken dryer button.
  • Getting home later than I wanted so I wasn't in bed at a reasonable hour.
  • Waking up to a lovely cold morning with light snow flurries!! (No, wait - that was a GOOD part!) a dead car battery.
  • Losing my wallet with my AAA card.
  • Finding that my AAA card is expired anyway.
  • My car battery not keeping a charge even after my neighbor jumped it.
  • Paying $250 for car work that did not fix the problem.
  • Waking up to a dead car battery, verse two.
  • Going in to work 2 hours late for the second day running.
  • Having to replace my alternator to the tune of $400.
  • Having my credit card declined because I forgot to transfer money from one account to the other so I can't get my car until tomorrow morning.
  • Having my eating completely off schedule all day.
Well, that's most of it. Like I said - nothing earth shattering, just ... a really bad couple of days.

Yesterday, when I recognized I was dealing with spiritual warfare, I called my friend Blondie. Blondie is truly a Godsend. An amazing lady with a wonderfully peaceful presence, she reminded me straight off that God is right there with me. She reminded me that I need to turn that worry over to the God Who carries me through all things. I was reminded of a favorite Bible verse:
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace that passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord." --Philippians 4:6-7, paraphrase
I've kept that in the forefront of my mind and have recited that many, many times over the last 2 days.

Then something occurred that put it all in perspective.

A 28-year-old new mommy - a friend of a friend - had a massive heart attack while working out. She was taken to the hospital where it appeared she was brain dead. Her boyfriend and family have been preparing their goodbyes. As soon as I heard about this, I put urgent prayer requests on my facebook page: "Her chances of survival are impossibly slim, but we are the people of God and we know that, in the words of Max Lucado, 'He still moves stones.' Please pray for an outright miracle. With God ALL things are possible." In moments several folks had joined me in prayer.

It was Gideon all over. Remember him? God worked it out that Gideon's meager army of 300 water lappers defeated an army of well over 100,000. The reason? He wanted to prove beyond all doubt that this victory could only belong to God. He wanted there to be no question at all that He alone wielded Gideon's sword. Um, wait. Did I say sword? My mistake! There were no swords - only trumpets. God defeated an army of 100,000 + sword-wielding men ... with trumpets. Seriously. Does that leave any question as to Whom that victory belongs? It's absolutely unbelievable - impossible, even.

Or is it? This grieving man brought their baby girl to see her mommy, and her mommy ... woke up. Such a simple, yet unquestionably profound event. She simply woke up. The miracle we prayed for happened! In His omnipotent sovereignty, our ineffable God can and does do anything He chooses - His might is limitless! He took a situation that was completely outside the realm of human control and brought it to an amazing conclusion for the benefit of His children.

I am a woman of faith, and yet I find myself amazed at this result. I am a bit abashed at my amazement. I prayed for this result, yet even I did not truly expect that God would save this young woman. Oh, foolish me!

And yet I look at these minor irritations in my day - the car trouble, the cash flow, the little blips that don't even register on the radar - and I have the nerve to complain. I have the nerve not to trust that my Father, who held and healed the broken hearts of this woman and her grief-stricken family, will bring me through these momentary hassles. I repeat - Oh, foolish me! He brought Lazarus back from the grave, yet I worry about how I'm getting to work in the morning.

So. Perspective, anyone?

Yeah. Perspective. I haz it.

You know what? I choose to shift my perspective on each of these events in my life. I choose first, to see them as only minor irritations, not life-changing catastrophes. And let's go one step further: I choose to be grateful for each of these events, including the car trouble. I choose to see God's protection in that. He ordered it that I would experience these troubles here at home rather than in three weeks when I'm traveling through a probably-snowy Iowa. He ordered these events so that I would take stock of my finances; so that I would remember that life is about much more than having the perfect Christmas dishes; so that I would be reminded that my car is a gift, not a birthright. He ordered these events so that I would grow closer to Him - so that I would always be reminded Who has already won any spiritual battles I might encounter.

And that's what perspective is all about, Charlie Brown.