Four Brave Soldiers

So, there was a war between the Philistines and Israel. David and his men went to fight but David became exhausted. Then this warrior from the Philistines with an insanely heavy spear and a brand new armor announced that he would kill David but one of David’s men, Abishai, came to the rescue and killed the Philistine.

Now this freaked David’s men out and they told David to stay put, that if he died, it was like the lamp of Israel being snuffed out.

And so whenever a warrior arose from the Philistines one of David’s men killed them and David was safe. Their names were the aforementioned Abishai, Sibbecai, Elhanan, and Jonathan.

2 Samuel 21:15-22 (SKV)

So at this point David was already pretty old, but being the kind of leader that he was, he entered into the battlefield. The Philistines were out for him, they were gonna kill him. But David’s servants protected him by standing with him and protecting him and killing those who were trying to kill David.

Now I don’t particularly like this killing stuff, but it’s not from today, right. It’s from thousands of years ago. Not that God ever endorsed killings but it’s weird! Anyways, the Israelites believed David to be the Light of Israel and therefore watched over him, physically, to make sure that the light did not go out. This can be compared to the lamp that is trimmed and burning in the Holy Place. And just like the light in the Holy Place which represents God’s presence, David’s ‘light’ represents the life of Israel.

That’s not the part that really hits home though. What hits home is that although David was close to collapsing in his age and weariness, and really didn’t have the strength to fight, he remained the LIGHT of Israel.

So, a life with God, is like a light that never goes out. No matter what the circumstance, when we are with God, the light of God in us never goes out. We continue to shine in the darkest nights, in the sootiest lamp, the light has not died. It may not shine far and bright as it does on a clear summer, or fill a room with brightness, but it does fill it with light, more light than darkness, no matter how dark it feels.

In other words, no matter how shitty I feel right now, and everything seems to be piling on, and there seems to be no grace, and I feel trapped in a vicious cycle, and I don’t really feel like I’m with God, God is with me and that light in me is still burning bright – it just can’t be seen in my current circumstance.

And David was real blessed to have these four soldiers that did not fear the giant and protected him by putting themselves on the line. Right now, I am not that blessed. Not in a physical capacity.

But it is hopeful to know that there is light, right? That the light is still there, even in the darkest nights.

I don’t know how to get out of this funk.

I’m lost

For the first time in years I admitted to someone, and thereby myself, that I may be on the road to depression. That’s a sad and scary thought. I’m not myself right now, I’m not fully here. I can turn it on for certain things, especially new and different things, but in my daily life it’s hard to be me…

I’ve noticed that. There have been individuals that have noticed that.

Then tonight I was watching girl meets world, and in the last two episodes Riley is on a journey to try and help Maya find herself. Riley asks questions like ‘Where are you Maya’ and says things like ‘You’ve become me’ and I… recognize that I’ve started to lose myself, or maybe I’m completely lost.

Who I am.

I barely recognize who I was anymore.

This is tough.

Reconcile

How do I reconcile this turmoil within myself. I don’t even understand it. What I do know is that for the past month for sure, and probably a little longer, I have had a difficult time engaging in the reality of what’s going on in this world, specifically in the United States but also a little broader as well. Both the presidential campaign and the killings all leave me wanting to only look at cute and funny things. But this tipping point has come where nothing is helping.

I was driving to the grocery store and realized that I didn’t want to listen to music. I rarely don’t want to listen to the radio – I can usually find something that I want to listen to even if it’s not what I usually listen to. Sometimes I’m in the mood for country, sometimes for rock, sometimes for preaching, but usually for Christian Contemporary Music. But today I could not bear it – I wanted to sit in silence as I maneuvered around the streets.

I have a friend, a couple friends, going through some unnecessary turmoil among this midst. Someone calling them out that they are not being pastoral in handling this situation. And many things go through my mind and I need to get them off my chest:

So now you say something? Because the ones who died in Dallas are cops? Because they’re white? Because there’s many? That can’t be it – you didn’t speak up after the Pulse shooting. Is this what it takes to get you enraged? To get you to speak up? It has to be people who are like you? Cuz yes black lives matter, but cops lives matter more?

I admit, I don’t think I’m enraged about the murder. About the killing. I mean yes – it is absolutely horrific and it should not have happened. None of it. None of the killings. But what’s burdening me is the response.

I guess in someways that makes me just as bad. I’m only mad because it affects me and my ministry? IDK. I don’t know how to process this.

 

Let’s move on.

How do I minister in this time? How do I do Christian Education? How do I do it in a way that is not – okay we’ve mentioned it, we’ve said their names, now we’re done? How do I do it when I’m so broken. Broken and not even really understanding why I’m broken or what is broken. How the FUCK do I do it.

In 10 hours, I’m going to be with the youth boys – and a few other adults. And I don’t know if I can take it. I mean I know I can but I don’t know if I can and be true.

Cry

I’m gonna be crying myself to sleep tonight.

There’s so much going on in the world that I can’t even process.

Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. Dallas.

That’s not even the half of it. That’s just this week.

The hostility in the air. The frustration being cried out.

And I choose not to know all the facts because it really presses on my spirit.

But even so my heart is heavy.

My burden is full.

I don’t know what to do.

I don’t really want to talk.

But I need someone to put their hand on my arm.

I need a long strong hug telling me that everything’s going to be okay.

That my internal struggle and battle of all that is going on around me is

is what…

is what…

inconsequential to my life?

But it’s not, right. That’s the thing, it’s not inconsequential.

7 years ago it was.

But today it’s not.

This is my life. This is my reality. This is part of who I am now.

This is part of my cross. Toma tu cruz. Carry your cross.

 

But you know what I can’t take this, I just can’t.

So although it’s a distraction tactic to watch American Ninja Warrior.

I’m gonna take it.

I’m gonna binge on American Ninja Warrior and Baby Daddy.

And pretend this shit place of a world doesn’t exist.

And I’ll deal with the world tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

And even that. The fact that I’m doing that… pisses me off.

Reminded

There is no mission field greater than this.
More challenging than this.
Where the people are so different.
Their food is different.
Their talk is different.
Their theology, mindset, ideology, and political stance is different.
Everything is different.
And it’s much more stark after I spend time being with people who are not the same but similar in many ways.
If mission were about changing the people, if be long gone. I have all but given up.
But mission is about changing me, about me being changed into someone closer to the image of Christ that is true.
So for that, I stay. I am here.

What does it look like to assimilate into this mission place? Idk… Idk…

Was it that bad

So yeah…

Was it that bad?

I think it was.

And I thought I do it really well.

I wasn’t concerned.

I didn’t have questions.

I just came as I am.

Maybe that’s endearing.

But who wants that.

I think it was that bad.

They’ve crossed off my name.

Never again, they say.

But maybe that’s just not God’s will for me.

Making them laugh is not the point.

Appearing professional, is that the point?

No, in this – I just want to be who I am.

So conclusion.

Yes, it was that bad.

I could have been better prepared.

But that’s okay.

If it’s meant to be it will be.

If it’s not, it won’t.

Maybe it’s predestined, maybe it’s Maybelline.