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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Conflict is meant to be faced

I've already run for dear life straight to the arms of God. So why would I run away now...   7 God's business is putting things right; he loves getting the lines straight, setting us straight. Once we're standing tall, we can look him straight in the eye.  
(Psalm 11:1, 7)

In life, we face times when those around us are advising us to go one way, when we are pretty confident that God has something entirely different in mind for us. We are pulled between the advice of our friends and the nudge of the Spirit we are feeling.  King David asks a question that we all probably ask at one time or another - "Why would I run when I am already in the very best place I can be?"  There is no place more secure than directly in the hands of God.

David is being challenged to flee to the hills - run away, escape, make himself scarce - so his enemies don't overtake him, so a challenge does not overwhelm him.  He has two choices - stand and face what comes his way, or flee and count on the mountains to protect him.  His answer to his "advisors" is that he sees no sense in fleeing to the mountains - God has not made his residence there, but in David's heart!

David has put his trust in God's keeping grace - he is counting on being held in the hands of God regardless of the circumstances that are coming his way.  He relates his trust in his affirmation of where it is that he has found his hope - in God's arms.  Then he gives us insight into that hope he has - God is in the business of setting things right!  He not only orchestrates the situation, but he "orchestrates us" throughout that situation.  He delights in setting things in order - marking out a path to follow and then walking with us along that path. For that reason alone, David will not flee when the going gets rough.

It is natural to desire to flee - it is part of our make-up to want to preserve what we already have found enjoyment in.  David says he finds great joy in keeping himself near to the heart of God.  You cannot get closer to the heart of someone than being in their arms!  His is not a casual relationship with God - it is one that has developed a sense of intimate communion.  God has drawn him near, set him upright, and now he is looking God in the eye - no shame, no fear, no barrier to intimate fellowship with a holy God.  Why?  Because God has set things right in his heart.

David gives us just a glimpse at our choice in conflict - run and hide, or stand and be strong in the power of the Lord.  I'd like to think we'd all choose the latter, but I know the reality of our fickle emotions - we sometimes run!  When we find ourselves ready to "bolt", we would do well to ask the question:  "Is God going to be more present, more available, more willing to meet with us wherever it is we are running than he is in the midst of the challenge we are facing?"  If we have truly asked ourselves that question in sincerity, we likely will know the answer is "no".  

Running affords only a temporary escape from the present conflict.  Wherever we go, conflict inevitably will occur.  There is really no escape - just a chance to face what "giants" lie before us and take them on in the power found in relying on his grace to get us through.  Running is a means of "going around" what gives us concern - rather than facing it head on.  David reminds us that God's methods are to face things head on.

So, whatever the challenge today - whatever the conflict you face - run to the arms of Jesus first.  There you will find all you need for the way to be made straight, your own life ordered in such a way that you will be able to face the challenge ahead.