Stressed? Challenged? Attacked? Oppressed? Your reaction can be Fight or Flight…….or Trust and Testify
Devotional/Discussion Thought of the Day:
11 Boaz answered her: “I have had a complete account of what you have done for your mother-in-law after your husband’s death; you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know previously. 12 May the LORD reward what you have done! May you receive a full reward from the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.” Ruth 2:11-12 (NAB)
5 You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 4:5-10 (NLT)
Last night, as I drifted off to sleep, my mind was working through all the issues of the week, and there were a number of serious ones. Even two that sprang up a couple of hours before bed. Some will be dealt with quickly, some are going to linger for months, and all of them have the potential to cause both anxiety and worse heartache. I can often deal with the stress, and with others heartache, but when I encounter some things – and see the lack of grace, and concern for the people whom God has created, the heart ache is overwhelming.
Scientists from Biologist to Sociologists talk about such times being the mechanism which fire off a “fight or flight” response. That is, the trauma is such that we have an energy spike, and our reaction is to use that energy to run away and hide (the Elijah response – where is that cave again?) or fight (remember St. Peter in the garden with a sword?) Things get tense – and we are informed it is “natural” to feel the pull to one response or the other. Or sometimes we are paralyzed, as our minds can’t decide which to do – and the energy is release, and instead of one or the other…we simply get more anxious, more agitated.
Been there, done that, have the hole in the ground because my head was spinning so fast it turned my body into a drill bit. Fight or Flee – I want to do both right now – and so I look like Shaggy on the old scoobydo cartoons – feeting moving faster then the eye can perceive – and going no where.
For those of us whom God has claimed in the waters of Baptism – there is actually another option. It requires something more than fight or flight.
It takes remember that God is God. That He is our refuge, our strength – as Martin Luther said – he is our Fortress. (that hymn btw is not the anthem of a warrior, but the lament of those needing refuge and their joy in finding it in Christ)
The option is to trust. To have confidence in all of God’s promises – not just about being our refuge, but indeed seeing how God will bless us even more. Taking refuge as Ruth did, in God is about more than spending time in His sanctuary, it is realizing that He has made us His sanctuary. To know that God has called us to these times and these places – to testify of His love, to reveal to people His will, that He doesn’t rejoice in the death of the wicked – that He desires to bring people to reconciliation and repentance, to have Him the trust in Him – even to the extent of what He teaches.
Trust and Testify.
To know He is God, to intimately, deeply, without reservation know it. To know He is our refuge, our sanctuary. Our Hope, our love.
To testify to that – to show others how He has saved us from sin, how being in His presence, death is no longer something to be feared, To realize we don’t have to reach out to Him, but He has us in the firmly in His grasp.
Lord, help us to realize that when we cry out – Lord Have Mercy, it is for the same reason Luther said we pray “They will be done”. Not because You will not, but that we would know You have. AMEN.