As a Christian I wear a big target on my back for the enemy to aim at and chase me around. I read in the bible that we will be persecuted simply because we are Christian, but getting beat up, bruised, attacked and pushed down is not exactly what I expected when I said “yes Lord” to the ministry of orphans. It hurts. I was so naieve. Part of me feels like cowering in a corner with my arms covering my face, trembling and fearful. The other part of me wants to practice all that kickboxing I taught in my thirties. But neither one of those is the right choice. We aren’t called to be cowards, and fighting takes a lot of energy away from our real cause.
The enemy is not stronger than the Great God who is in me. He will distribute consequences. I can get bruised, but I can’t be broken. I could let the hurt deflate my joy and cloud up my peace, but I won’t. I think that would be a shame because joy is such a marvelous condition of the Christian soul. With Jesus I know I am never alone, I can never be broken, and I am always loved in exactly the right way. Regardless of my life around me this is true. The joy that flows from knowing the saving grace, forgiveness, unconditional love of Jesus is too valuable to throw away because of a few bruises.
Psalm 35:12-13 “They repay me evil for good and leave my soul forlorn. Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting.”
I have found myself in such dismay over the betrayals, slander and gossip that it makes sense to hover and cry. But then I realized a truth I have learned before: people will always disappoint me. If I put my hope into a person I will be disappointed. But if I keep my sights on Jesus I can always feel like dancing because he will never disappoint me. I can dance right on through the fire. I’ve been dancing for years, why stop now?
If someone used a high tech arthroscopic medical instrument to probe the physical condition of my soul, the findings would be severe bruising. The good news though is the prognosis is complete restoration of health and normal function. My soul is bruised but not broken. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am new at this ministry. Then I think of what Jesus endured on the cross for my sin, and my hurt is a simple scrape. And the mere thought of that grace restores my hope and dashes away doubt.
There are lessons to be learned from bruises. When Jack fell off the horse for the first time he realized he had to listen to his instructor very carefully to avoid getting hurt. It changed the way he was a student. Our bruises will change the way we make decisions. We have to keep a sharp eye out for wolves in sheep’s clothing. And they are all around us. Now we know. We also know the attacks aren’t over. It wasn’t a single test we had to pass. They will continue to come….and come…and come….
A friend wrote to me recently, “effective ministries are always a target for the enemy”.
Today, instead of lamenting the hurt, I had a celebration. I sang and danced, smiled and relaxed. These lessons are bringing me closer to Jesus. They are tossing me into the word with a greater hunger. They are showing me what really matters…the children. I create a sweat when I pray. Struggles remind me what peace there is in a clear conscience. Lies can be spread, but the truth always comes out. At Kirabo Seeds we have pure motives. We are an effective ministry changing the lives of orphans in Uganda for the glory of God who surrounds us with protection. And it makes the enemy furious. I know from reading Psalms 37 what God wants us to do next….
“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.” Psalm 37:5-9
What I need is some soul care. I need to be with people who will care enough to help me pick out the millions of prickers stuck in my flesh, pray with me, lead me to scripture, let me cry until I dance and tuck me into bed so I may rest. I need to open the creative doors of our ministry and go into action behind our God who leads the way. I need to COMMIT my way to the LORD, TRUST him and not fret. It’s that simple. We can do that.