Bully vs. Brother

When I was young…like single digit young and into early double digit young…I thought I was pretty tough.  I thought I had to be.  I had been bullied and  I had “rescued” younger kids from bullies who then turned their attention on me.  So, I felt that if I put on a tough front I had a better chance of survival…or at least, I thought so.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that I had 3 older brothers and  most people with whom I went to school knew that fact and when you messed with one you could possibly face all.

In jr. high many of us stayed at school for lunch during the winter so we didn’t freezee on our way home and back (I lived in Alberta, Canada where the word “winter” had a totally different meaning than where I live now…California).  Our school didn’t have a lunch room so the students would eat in a classroom which was never supervised by a teacher (it was before the law that said children always needed supervision go figure!).

The room where I was eating lunch had two doors on opposite walls.  A bully had come in one door and had decided that I would be the target for the day.  He started the taunting as soon as he came in the room and with every comment he would come a bit closer to me.  There were other students in the class but we were all in 7th grade and he was 9th so no one else was going to try to take him on.  And so he taunted…

I was trying to remain calm and “tough” and slowly move backwards towards the opposite door and I was talking “tough”…like “well, you don’t scare me”  (of COURSE he did), and “you can’t hurt me” (well of COURSE he could).  Suddenly, I noticed that his demeanor had changed, his stance had changed, his talk had changed everything had changed.  I was thinking to myself “wow…I’m tougher than I think I am”.

What I didn’t know was that one of  my older brothers had come in the door behind me and was looking the bully square in the eye from across the room.  Though I was quite proud of myself my confidence was quite displaced.  Suddenly aware of another presence behind me, I turned and saw him and I sheepishly went and stood behind him.  Though I was embarrassed that I had misjudged the situation, I was quite relieved because I knew that I no longer had to bluff.  My big brother was there and he would take care of things however deemed necessary.  Just his presence was enough to make the threat diminish.

This is what my Spiritual life is like.  The devil attacks and taunts and tempts and throws threats and as long as I try to bluff my way through, he’s just going to keep coming.  But, when I stand behind my big Brother, the Victor, Jesus Christ the One who stands for me, by me, in front of me, behind me, above me, there is nothing to fear.  He is the power that causes the devil to back down.  He is the One who has already brought the victory, I simply need to stand behind Him and He will diminish the threat.  Romans 8:38-39 says that through Christ nothing can separate us from God’s love….NOTHING.  Earlier in the chapter it says that we are more than conquerors “through” Christ.  Throughout the New Testament we are told that through Christ or in Christ or because of Christ we have so many promises and victories available to us that the enemy has no chance.  Christ already paid for the victory through His own blood.

No matter what comes at me today, attitudes, temptations, sorrow, weakness, trials, troubles, confusions, pain, overwhelming happenings, no matter…as I stand behind and in Christ the victory is mine and His strength is mine because of Him.  Thank God I do not have to bluff and I do not have to face the enemy alone.

So, today Lord, when the enemy attacks, when life gets hard, remind me to stand in and behind You.  Thank You for loving me.  Thank You for being my One and only.  Thank You for being the one to whom I can run.  Thank You for being my big Brother.

My Choice

Quiet

Peace

Stillness

Solitude

Rest

These are the places I need to be. God knows.  When life seems to get too…

hurried

full

busy

crazy

chaotic

painful

harried

I need time with the only One who can bring me to the truest place of peace and presence.

Everyone has something…something painful, something difficult, something stressful, something.

Sometimes the “somethings” seem to come gradually.  Sometimes the “somethings” seem to come at us like a stampede.  Sometimes the “somethings” are small and “handleable” and sometimes they seem enormous.  Sometimes we can see the answer to the “something” right away and sometimes it takes time.

Those “somethings” can try to steal our joy and our strength and our patience and our peace.  Thankfully none of those things are dependent on us or on the “somethings”.  Those things are a choice we make but they are always there and always available because God is always and they are directly from Him.

You know…that joy that isn’t giddy but it’s way deep inside and comes from knowing Who is the Source and Who is in control.  It is that strength that isn’t muscular or a character trait but it is a gift and is strongest in our weakness.  It is that patience that doesn’t make sense to anyone else but comes from having experienced His patience with us and from knowing His timing is not our own.  It’s that peace that we don’t even understand ourselves but comes in the midst of the storm…it’s there in the stillness but it comes fresh in the storm.  If we allow.  For it is a choice.

It is a  choice to keep my eyes on Him in the midst of the storm.  It is my choice to keep my eyes on Him in the middle of the crisis.  It is my choice to keep my eyes on Him when people around me are doing things that could impact me in a negative way.  It is my choice to keep my eyes on Him when the Dr. comes with yet  more bad news.  It is my choice to keep my eyes on Him when others will walk away.  It is my choice to keep my eyes on Him when the devil’s lies attack me.  It is my choice…

“Lord, today, let me keep my eyes on You.  Let me choose joy and strength and patience and peace.  Let me choose Your way each step of my day. Let me choose Your quiet stillness.”