written March 2, 2005, republished November 30, 2009)
A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. -– Psalm 91:7
But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. -- Genesis 50:20
You pushed me violently, that I might fall, but the Lord helped me. -- Psalm 118:13
For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. -– Habakkuk 2:3
When I used to go through a testing period, before I came to know the Lord and understand that He has a specific plan for my life, I would cry, whine, throw fits, ask “why me?” and basically act like the child I was. But now that I’m grown, I have put childish things away and now look to the Father for the reason for the present test. Don’t get me wrong, there are still times when I give in to the flesh and forget Whose child I am, but those periods don’t last long, and Daddy, by His Holy Spirit, gently chides me and reminds me of my reason for living.
I do not in any way liken myself to any of the biblical Hall of Faith honorees, far from it. I do however, see the seeds of similarity in some of the situations in which I have found myself. Like when the Lord explains that I only went through “that” for His Glory, I gain a little understanding of Job’s faithfulness. Or when someone operates against me in an ungodly way, yet I still emerge the victor, I catch a glimpse of what Joseph must have felt like. Well, I had a “Jonah-like” experience recently and I would like to encourage anyone who has strayed to get back to where you need to be before Daddy takes a switch to you!
I had a bit of a fall Monday night and bruised my hip. No big deal, but it is relevant to the story. I had class last night, Tuesday, and was not looking forward to sitting for two-and-a-half hours on a bruised hip, so Tuesday morning, while at work, I took some painkillers to ease the discomfort. By the time I left work to get to class, I had forgotten to take another dose before I left and so by the time class began, I was in pain again. Forty-five minutes into class I am having problems concentrating because of the pain, so I excuse myself to go home. I do not have my own car yet, so I take the bus to get to where I need to go.
I get to the bus stop about five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. I am standing there for about two minutes when two police cruisers go flying by, sirens blaring, lights flashing. The location of the bus stop is two blocks from the police station, so though exciting, it’s not a rarity. Well, a minute later, I hear a major collision to my right, and so, naturally, my attention is drawn in that direction. What happens next is definitely a rarity, at least in my life…
I see a white SUV come barreling out of a parking lot (the collision I heard was the SUV hitting a compact car). The SUV is now trying to flee the scene and decides to go the wrong way up a four-lane one way main street. Now mind you, there are buses and cars coming down this street at their regular pace, not expecting to see a car coming towards them at top speed, so now chaos begins to ensue as vehicles brake and screech and try unsuccessfully to get out of the way. The SUV is hitting vehicles left and right, trying to flee in the wrong direction and seeing no other way out, jumps the curb and starts barreling towards me!!!
Y’all, all I could do was call on the name of Jesus. I couldn’t even scream it. I just kept calling His Name because there was nothing else I could do. There was nowhere for me to go. If I jumped to the left I would be in the street in the path of other vehicles, and the right was blocked by a five-foot high chain-link fence that ran the entire block length. So here I am hanging on to the fence, calling Jesus, and seeing my life flash before me as this vehicle is heading straight for me. Jesus heard me and put His Hand out and the SUV veers to the left, his right, into oncoming traffic, fewer than 50 feet from hitting me. It takes off, continuing on its extremely reckless wrong way path up the one-way with now six or seven police cruisers chasing it. All this happens in under a minute.
The moment the wail of the sirens die down, my knees buckle, and I begin to hyperventilate. There was a gentleman waiting for the same bus who had to talk me down from my heightened state of panic.I used to live in New York City, the city reputed to have the highest crime rate, or at least gets the most publicity about its crime, and I have never experienced the things I have experienced since moving to Delaware, reputedly the slow state. I was ready, at that moment, to move back to New York. But I digress…
On my way home, you better believe I had a serious talk with God. I just knew that the enemy was after my life and that God had such a big thing planned for me that the enemy was angry and was trying to take me out before it manifested (you know, the things we’re taught to think in some instances of adversity).After He got a Word in edgewise , He let me know that my life was never in danger, but I needed a wake up call. You know that got my attention.
My prayer and study life had seriously slacked off and I knew it had, but I kept letting it get away from me. I am a warrior for God, but I can’t go into battle without armor, or with rusty weapons, and believe me, if the enemy had truly come up against me, he would have been the victor and I could have blamed no one but myself. If God had not stretched out His Hand and protected my life from all the unseen dangers I am sure have occurred, while I found my way back to Him, I would already be asleep in my grave, another unfinished story.
God has been gracious enough to show me little pieces of the part I am to play in His Plan and I can neither sit idly by nor skate on prior experience; I have to stay in the Word, guard my heart with prayer and fasting, and be ever vigilant against the distractions the enemy keeps throwing my way to keep me from doing just that. I used to fool myself into thinking that because some parts of the vision had not yet manifested that I had time to “take a vacation” and relax in my duties as a soldier. Let me tell you, NOT SO!!! Don’t slack off, be ever ready, in season and out, not just because you never know when God is going to call upon you to perform the duties to which He called you, but also because the enemy roams about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (see 1 Peter 5:8).Many soldiers have been devoured simply because they slacked off and their armor wasn’t in place when the attack came.
God made us in His image and in His likeness for His purpose (Colossians 1:16). How dare we take that workmanship and grace for granted? I took the moments of free time to relax instead of delving deeper into my relationship with my Father. If God hadn’t been gracious, it might have cost me my life.I am a part of God’s plan, whether or not I see or feel it. You are a part of God’s plan, whether or not you realize or recognize it. We are a part of God’s orchestra and choir—every instrument and voice is vital and plays an extremely important part, no matter how small it may appear to the human eye. Your part may be one note at the end of the movement, but though the vision tarries, wait for it, for it shall speak and not lie (Habakkuk 2:3).
God allowed me to live through a harrowing experience just to show me that He is still in control, that He still values me, but that I must do my part. I am still to encourage others as together we strive toward the mark of the prize of the high calling that is in Christ Jesus (see Philippians 3:14). I am still to speak words to the weary (see Isaiah 50:4). I am still to overcome obstacles with the Blood of The Lamb and the Word of my testimony (Revelation 12:11). God is still my refuge and my strength (Psalm 46:1), my battleaxe (see Jeremiah 51:20), the lifter of my head (see Psalm 3:3). He still keeps a fiery hedge of protection around me, but that doesn’t mean He won’t let me experience the adrenaline rushes that sometimes come to kick me out of my complacency.
So the enemy comes like a flood against me, I know that The Spirit of God lifts up a standard (seeIsaiah 59:19) and all I have to do is fall in behind it. So what if attacks come from without and within (see 2 Corinthians 7:5)? Greater is He Who dwells within me, than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).What can man do to me when God is on my side (see Psalm 118:6)? He is the God of my salvation (seeExodus 15:2;Psalm 18:2, 46; Psalm 25:5;Psalm 68:20), the author and finisher of my faith (seeHebrews 12:1-2). So what, I don’t see the physical manifestation yet of the vision? I know to wait for it; God spoke it, so that settles it. It’s happening!
I encourage you to wait on God. If He made a promise to you and you have done all He has instructed you to do, then stand still and see His salvation. He promises that His Word will not return to Him void; it will accomplish the task it was sent to accomplish (see Isaiah 55:11). But your part is vital. Search your heart, have you done all you were supposed to do? Have you put off doing the unpleasant part until a more opportune time? Do you realize that you could not only have been delaying your own blessing, but someone else’s? You’ve heard this all before, so why are you still standing there gazing at a spot from where the anointing has now passed. Get moving to where The Lord is leading you. I have heard many preachers say that many of us are stuck on what God said, instead of moving into what God is saying. But that’s a message for another time…
Be blessed of the Lord! Receive His Word readily, preach it joyfully, live it completely!