Sunday, October 18, 2015

More than a legion

It is a sin to "soft peddle" the Christian walk - like it is going to be all sunny and rosy each step we take.   We cannot overlook the tremendous amount of work on our part to consistently listen to the right voices vying for our attention, nor the effort it takes to actually make the right choices when faced with all manner of temptation.  It is not a walk in the park by any means, so don't let anyone tell you it is going to be easy!  In fact, our path will be riddled with all manner of tempting thought, tremendous obstacles which will seek to make it impossible for us to cross without stumbling a whole lot, and lots of times when we just don't hear God's voice, but have to dig deep down inside us and lean into our faith that he is there.  There is one thing we can count on though - we don't walk without his tremendous care and protection over our lives!

God will command his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will carry you in their arms, and you won’t hurt your feet on the stones. You will overpower the strongest lions and the most deadly snakes. (Psalm 91:11-14 CEV)

I don't live in a country with a monarch, but I have seen movies depicting what it is like in the "courts of the king".  He utters his wishes and it is as he says - no questions asked. The swiftest of actions go into play and the desires of the king are put into motion - simply at his bequest.  I don't think of God as a monarch, but this picture can give us a little insight into how things "go down" when he commands something to happen in our lives.  With the swiftest of action and utmost obedience, those charged with overseeing these actions in our lives are put into motion.  Now, I am not going to get into the whole "guardian angel" thing, but I do believe he has legions and hosts of angels just at his beckon call - awaiting his instruction and then taking the swiftest of actions to ensure his wishes are fulfilled on our behalf.  The argument isn't whether I believe I have one specifically assigned to my care and attendance, or legions at his side just waiting to intervene as he instructs - it is that I trust God has resources beyond my ability to see, but there nonetheless!

The God who protects does more than just conserve something in our lives - for conservation has some loss built into the best of plans to conserve.  For example, I may conserve rations if shipwrecked in a life raft on the open seas, not really knowing how long I may have to be afloat.  Try as I might, I cannot totally conserve all my energy, nor can I conserve all the "expenditure" of my own body fluids such as perspiration.  It will occur as a result of me being where I am and doing what I am doing.  I may "conserve" as much as possible, but there will always be some "loss" as a result of what I cannot possibly control. He also preserves, safeguards, puts up barriers on our behalf, acts as a buffer in our lives, and makes us invulnerable to the things which would attempt to trip us up or bring us down.

It might just be you avoided tripping over that last obstacle in your midst because of angels lifting you above them, or because they moved the obstacle completely in order to preserve your well-being and allow a liberty in your walk you'd not realize otherwise.  We don't have to see them to know they exist - nor do we have to know their names to understand their purpose in our lives.  We appreciate they are vessels of God's grace and protection over our lives.  Some will be agents who perform as our offense - ready to attack anything which seeks to mess with our liberty and interfere with the actions of grace in our lives.  Others will be agents who are our defensive line, so to speak - acting to protect the ground we have already taken and helping us to stand strong in that place of surety in our lives.  Regardless of their action - they are acting in our lives not because we call upon them, but because we call upon God.  I just want that to be plain here - angels aren't at our beckon call - they are at God's!

The point our psalmist wants us to see is that God employs all means to bring us into safety and keep us there once we have arrived!  He doesn't take it lightly when things get in the way of our safety or security.  He moves heaven and earth on behalf of his children.  This should help us overcome worry and anxiety in our lives, warding off the fear and dread which comes when we think we "manage" this life all on our own.  Mom's gait is unsteady these days, shuffling feet and failing eyesight making her often not quite sure of what the next step will bring.  I often reach out an arm, which she takes willingly and with confidence.  Why? She knows I am there to help her navigate the path.  She doesn't have to manage the path on her own.  In much the same way, God extends his arm - we only have to take it - resting securely in the truth he is there helping us navigate the path.  Just sayin!