Of Swords and Battering Rams

battering ramI have my own shield and battering ram and I’m very skilled at using both of them. Together or apart I’m a professional.

Every morning I pick them up and begin my day. They’re heavy and ungainly. They’re difficult to carry around and I get tired. At night I carefully drop them to the floor, crawl into bed and sleep the sleep of the dead.

Because I’ve been carrying my own armor around all day. I’ve been fighting my own battles. I’ve fought battles that were both real and imagined. I’ve fought with people I love dearly thinking they were my true enemy.

I’m not proud of this. I’m ashamed of my battles and battle scars, even though I’d proudly show anyone. Not that anyone wants to see them. No one likes those, no one really wants invited to pity parties. And I’ve had a lot of them.

“If you only knew what he did!”

“Did you hear what she said to me?”

“It’s all their fault!”

Jab, jab, strike, stab, lop them off at the knees. Or the head. Anything to wound them before I could be wounded by them.

Even if they meant well. And actually sought my good. I’d battle them. Misunderstanding their words, on purpose and accidentally.  If they said I was like “this”, I’d seek to prove to them I was more like “that”. If they said the wrong thing, which really was anything I didn’t like, I’d give them the stink eye, a withering glance and go to battle with words or with silence.

Then last week I was on a long road trip alone. Just myself and Mercy Me in the car.

And Jesus.

Jesus, the very One who told me over and over, “I am never in your presence, but you are always in Mine.” and “You can give Me no glory! I have all the glory and any glory you think you have is dirty compared to My glory. You are to merely reflect My glory in you. You are a conduit, a reflector of My great glory. You can’t give Me what I already possess.” The very One who told me one day as I walked around the building, “Since you have learned you are always in My presence, take off your shoes because you’re on Holy Ground.” Then when I had slipped my shoes off, He said, “Now, walk on the rocks.”
“But, Jesus, my feet are too tender!”
“Walk on the rocks.”
They poke and cut at my feet, I cringed and walked very gently, tenderly. The second time around the building barefoot He spoke again, “My child, there are times I will make you walk through difficult, painful times, just like you walked on the rocks. But I will be with you, just as I am with you now.”

Not going to lie, that statement did not fill me with joy. At all.

Back to my road trip. I prayed little sentence prayers, more like a whisper of a breath, “Word of God speak, Jesus. I need to hear Your voice.”

And I was suffocating in His very presence.

His words to me,

“You have to put down your shield and battering ram. And take up Mine.”

As if it was an easy thing to do. Put it down and take it up.

I’ve held on, tightly to my battering ram and shield for a lot of years. I’ve honed my skills on them and with them. They are like friends to me.

Friends who want to destroy me and kill me.

His words have rattled around in my head for the past week. I’d try to pray and I’d hear Him speak those words again. I’d beg to hear His voice and I’d hear those words.

I listened to a podcast recently and while it wasn’t on this topic, I heard His voice speak those words to me loud and clear again. I did a Bible study lesson and again I heard those words.

I went to bed that night and wept. Giving up my defenses was a very scary thing. Hugely scary.

Today I was emailing an old friend about this very thing. I was wanting someone to hold my hand and whisper to me that everything was going to be okay, that while yes, I did need to let go and pick up His, I could do it and they would hold my hand the whole time. I was half expecting harshness. This friend had already referred to me as a glutton and a rude pig at a kings table, so today when I was referred to as a leech, I wasn’t too surprised but it still stung.

And then I was told to pray about it and not argue or defend myself.

Again Jesus spoke, “Remember, I told you ‘No defenses. No excuses.'” I sent those four words, and only those four words back in an email.  I took a walk to my prayer bench, praying the entire way. Praying for truth. Praying I’d be able to retaliate. Praying I could prove my friend wrong. Praying for truth in me. Praying for Jesus to speak to me on this matter.

“What if you just believe?”

Yeah, what if I just believe?

“And let go of your battering ram and shield.”

Ohhh Jesus I don’t think I can do that! It’s too hard. It’s too painful. I know the pain of these, I don’t know the pain of Your sword and shield. You could hurt me again.”

“What if you just believe?”

I decided to quit the battle. I decided to try just believing. And then all the hurt and the anger at my friend’s comment came on full force. “Oh you thought it wasn’t enough to call me a glutton and a rude pig, now a leech? What other unflattering animals would you like to call me next? Bring it on, buddy. I’ve got a few animals for you too.”

And Jesus spoke.

I listened. Shattered. Scared. Afraid.

And I completely gave in and gave up.

I dropped my battering ram, laid down my shield. Shivered the pain of it all. And slowly walked away.

Into just believing Him.

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