Second Thursday of Advent – Advent Faith

When the enemy threatens, there is only one way to not faint! Check it out.

MM 12/11/14 Advent Faith from Debby Bellingham on Vimeo.

No possible escape?

Exodus 14

The Israelites found themselves at the edge of the Red Sea, the Egyptian army closing in, certain death approaching, and no escape possible. Their fear birthed blame; first toward Moses, “Why didn’t you leave us in Egypt to die?” Then toward themselves, “Why did we agree to follow him?”

Can you relate to the fear that arises when an enemy is at your heels and there is no way out? God, through Moses, gives aid to the rightfully frightened Israelites, and by extension to you and me.

DO NOT BE AFRAID – When panic arises, get in touch with the fear you are experiencing. Of what are you afraid? What’s the worse thing that could happen? Follow this thread until you arrive at the core, existential fear that your situation touches. God will meet you at that place with a truth that addresses your fear.

My marriage is over. And?  My children will suffer. And? I can’t protect them. And?  I should have been able to. And?  I’ve failed as a parent. (hear the blame) And? My greatest desire is for their well-being and it is impossible for me to keep them safe. And? I’ll need to trust them to God’s care.

This makes it sound much easier than it is, you might need someone to help you through this process. Once you’ve hit bottom, gotten in touch with your greatest fear and God’s truth in response to that fear, the next word of aid God’s offers is: STAND FIRM.

When the enemy taunts and fear and doubt arise in the form of regrets, should-haves, why did I’s? and I’m doomeds, your work is to return to the truth, “God will care for my children.” The hardest thing to do will be to KEEP STILL. But in so doing, you will “see the deliverance the Lord will accomplish and your enemies no longer. The Lord will fight for you.”

The Israelites waited and walked through on dry land, the Red Sea closed upon the Egyptians and their threat was eliminated. God will make a way for your impossible situation.

What enemy presses in on you? Financial debt, serious health issues, relational crises? When doubt and blame reign in your heart, keep still and let the Lord address your fear. Hide from the enemy behind the truth God promises.

Converting war to peace

Elisha’s protecting army

Boy, that Elisha, what a piece of work! He makes iron float, knows the secret plans of Israel’s enemy and chariots of fire protect him. God gives him knowledge of the enemy’s plan to raid Israel and he warns them so that the attack is averted. There is no bloodshed. He is a man of peace. (2 Kings 6)

When the enemy King learns that it is Elisha who is ruining his plans to destroy Israel, he sends an army to seize the prophet. Ah, but Elisha is not afraid of their number because he has eyes to see God’s army protecting him and the other prophets.

By miracles Elisha leads the ‘blinded’ enemy army to Israel’s headquarters. When the King of Israel wants to kill them, Elisha says, “No. Give them a great feast.” So they treat the captured army like royalty. At the party’s conclusion, the enemy army returns to Aram, their king and never attacks Israel again.

Elisha sounds like Jesus. “Turn the other cheek, bless those who curse you, pray for your enemies.” Such a strategy makes no sense in our world; but God’s ways are so different than mankind’s. Acting this way would put us at such risk. Reason cautions, “don’t do that, can’t do that, you are too precious and important.”

Today, let’s practice this, let’s participate in God’s crazy strategy for living. Let’s pray for our competition, bless the one who cuts us off in traffic, sacrifice our interest to serve our neighbor, our co-worker, our spouse or children.  I trust such behavior, practiced by a large community, would convert war to peace. God would not have modeled it, if it were not the case.