(Lately you have been asking me to call you that. You will ask me a question and as I answer you will say “say ‘yes, Buddy-boo.’”)
Last night we read some Bible stories before bed. You convinced me, in a way only you can do, to read one more-the David and Goliath one. I was really, really tired and distracted. To be honest I did not want to read another story. I just wanted to tuck you in and be done with it. I am sorry for when I act that way. I know these are the treasured moments and I should not let my own selfishness or exhaustion get in the way of pouring into you. Last night I am glad I chose to read one more story. You and Hayleigh have been full of spiritual questions lately-questions far beyond what I think a not-yet-three-year-old should be coming up with. You ask me a lot about Heaven and Hell and God beating Satan. I can tell you are intrigued and a little afraid. That is probably the right way for all of us to feel.
Last night I read the one more story, David and Goliath. You were captivated. Since you are on a couple of month long “sword kick” anything with weapons and armor interests you. It was especially curious to you that David did not want to wear the king’s armor and that even though Goliath was really, really big and had a really, really big spear that David was not afraid. You stared at the pictures, thinking. Always thinking. You traced the spear and the sling shot with your fingers. You asked if you could sleep with the Bible. So you did. You slept with it open to the page where Goliath was clad from his monstrous head to his intimidating toes in armor and a fearsome beard towering over David, who was looking up at him declaring that “God always wins His battles”. You lay your hand on the picture and drifted to sleep but not before telling me that you wanted to sleep with it open to this page so you could “remembuh dat God makes me stwong, not sowds and peers”.
Oh what those words did to my heart! I was so proud, so pleased, so challenged. Once again God used the words of one of my children to instruct me. How often do I try to do things on my own? How often do I try to bolster myself with “swords and spears” instead of trusting that God will give me strength…that God always wins His battles? We all have different forms of armor that we use to protect ourselves, B. I don’t know exactly what yours will be yet, but I pray that you will clothe yourself in humility as you rely on God for your strength. I pray that you will be strong in God’s strength, not in your own.
I have heard it said that it is not God who is on our team, but us who chose to be on God’s. In other words, it is not that God looks at us and says “oh! He has a good thing going. I am going to help him out on that one!” Instead we need to chose to be on God’s team. We need to chose to fight the battles that God gives us even if they aren’t the ones we would pick-even if they seem too puny or unimportant, even when they seem too intimidating and insurmountable. God chooses His battles and when we chose to fight for God’s will, we will not lose.
These days you spend so much of your time creating sowds and peers and belts to put them in. You say a lot of “on guawud!”. You are a pirate. You are a knight. You are an army man. You are a guard. You are Peter Pan. It is adorable to watch and fun to play along with! I can’t help but hope, (and pray), that one day you will choose to fight with vigor the battles that God sets before you. I pray that instead of fighting against the will of God, that you will see who your true adversaries are. I pray that you would understand that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12.) I explained to you and Hayleigh last night that God is going to beat Satan some day-that the battle is already won. I told you that Satan knows that but he still tries to fight against us by making us believe lies or by trying to make us make bad choices and sin. I saw the fear in your eyes. I told you that God is always there to help you fight again sin and Satan-all you have to do is pray. I reminded you of the verse “When I am afraid I will trust in you.”(Psalm 56:3). I found in incredibly fitting as you went to bed last night that you did not choose to sleep with your toy sword/s, as you have often done lately. But instead you chose to sleep with the Bible next to you-a tangible reminder of what our real weapon is.
I fall short often on using the weapons God has given me. I fall short on even remembering what the real enemy is. Despite my short-comings, and there are so so many of them, I pray that I can instill in you an eternal perspective. I hope that you can see the trials and heartaches of this life as tools of God to prepare you for the real battle. There is no use fighting against the tools God will use to make you more like Himself. Some of the tools might be painful, or confusing, or unexpected. But, B, I have found that the most effective tools God uses are often the last ones we would have prayed for. They are the ones that really hurt, the circumstances of life we thought we could never handle, but with God's help we can. So go to God when it hurts. Tell Him about it. Lean into Him. Trust Him. He knows. He cares. Let Him use the crappies of life for His glory. Be on His team. Choose to align yourself with God, especially when it is hard. In your own words: God is the one who makes you strong, not swords and spears. Remember, God always wins His battles.
I love you forever. I am honored to fight alongside you.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:10-18