Monday, May 14, 2012

Digging In

Psalms 9:9-10  (NKJV)
9 The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed,
A refuge in times of trouble.
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You;
For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

Do you feel like your life is pressing down on you? Do you sometimes feel like you're trapped, or stuck? Maybe you feel like you're spinning your wheels, getting nowhere fast!
Photo by Geoffrey Hicks

Pushed in one direction.  Pushed in another.  He wants this, she wants that.  Do this, don’t do that.  Some days I feel like everyone has something to say about the details of my life.  Everyone with an opinion to voice, an argumentative debate to engage in with me, or simply trying to dictate how the ONLY 24 hours of my day should be spent!  The pushing and pulling of many hands causes frustration and confusion at times.  I can become easily overwhelmed and begin to lash out at the people closest to me, the ones who are trying to help but sometimes only make things worse.

When the walls start pressing in or I feel like I am being packaged and made to fit into a tiny little box, I tend to dig my heels in deep and brace myself.  (This is not unlike a mule that is being pulled and pushed and has a carrot dangling but will not move!)  I will not move an inch until I regain my bearings and refocus my direction and intentions.  This isn’t always healthy, as I have recently learned.   
However, our natural reaction when cornered is “fight or flight” and digging in definitely falls under the “fight” category!  At that moment, I have braced for the fight.  I have anchored myself to stand against the barrage of people and their opinions like a football player, a defensive lineman, who is bracing or positioning for impact! 

In searching for direction from the Bible, I found a man of God who stood his ground, despite 400 other voices telling him what he should do or say.  His name was Micaiah (Mick-Ī-ăh) and his story is found in 1 Kings 22.  The king of Israel, Ahab, and the king of Judah, Jehoshaphat, was deciding whether they should go to war over land they thought they had rights to.  They called their 400 “prophets” and asked them if they had the ‘okay’ from God to go into battle.  Ahab was good with that but Jehoshaphat knew that he should stop and ask the man who actually heard from God and was not easily swayed.  In comes Micaiah!  When the messengers went to get him, they tried to persuade him to give the kings what their “itching ears” wanted to hear. (2 Tim. 4:3-4)  They told him what the other prophets said and Micaiah’s response was “…whatever the Lord says to me, that I will speak.” (1 Kings 22:14  NKJV)  He was not swayed one way or another but stood on God’s side!  He reserved the right to do only what God said to do whether it agreed with the others or not.  When he got to the kings, God’s message to Micaiah did not agree with the false prophets (imagine that) and Micaiah spoke God’s words!  Of course it all came to pass as God said it would because God had a purpose for it all.  

Micaiah’s story rings very familiar.  When all the influences around you are pushing and pulling at every angle (go here, do this, say that, believe this way, start this project, pursue this career, go to this school, be friends with her, don’t be friends with him, join this group or that) I can be confident and stand firm.  Like Moses before they crossed the Red Sea on dry land (Exodus 14:13) I can “stand firm” and follow God’s instructions.  Like the same Jehoshaphat, who later listened to God in 2 Chronicles 20:17, did not have to fight the battle but simply “stood firm” to let God fight for him!  Or, as we are instructed to do in Ephesians 6 after we have put on the full armor of God, to be able to withstand the schemes and snares of the enemy, we must stand!

For those of you who are, like me, standing with my heels dug in, bracing for what is to come, know that you are in great company throughout the Bible of great people who have simply stood firm.  Just remember, as you do stand, to continue to seek God first, His kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33), and remember that the steps of a good man/woman are “ordered by God” (Psalms 37:23).

I challenge you to dig in and stand firm.  Seek God in everything and allow Him do direct any steps you may take!  You don’t have to listen to every voice that speaks to you because in the end, there is only one voice that matters.  His!  God bless you as you continue to seek Him and His righteousness!  I am praying for you!