Last night the two men vying for votes in the next presidential election engaged in a debate - sort of. From the little I watched, I saw two people with their own wants and needs struggling to speak and not listen, working to subvert each other at every turn, and constantly interrupting and yelling.
The similarities in my life are startling.
"Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face" - Psalm 89:14
The real debate takes place every day in my heart - good versus evil. And you know what? Evil is calling reinforcements to make sure it wins. As an Elder in the church, you may think I have it "all together" all the time. That when you call for prayer, counsel, encouragement, or accountability that I can engage resolutely with a steadfast heart full of grace and truth. Please know I am human and sometimes it doesn't go that way for me, even when I try.
Last week I was wrestling with an issue of heavy spiritual weight. For myself and for the church. I slept an average of less than four hours per night for five straight days, with one night only getting one hour of sleep due to the struggle between what was right and what was easy. I also was called out to work after hours equaling 15 hours of overtime in four days. I was angry. I doubted my ability to do what was necessary. I was scared. I felt like a failure pretty much the entire week.
"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us" - Ephesians 2:4
I prayed for healing all week. I prayed for closeness with my Redeemer all week. I felt as if I was in a boat in the ocean in fog holding on to a rope. The rope never moved when I pulled as hard as I could in prayer. I felt lost. Disconnected. Alone. I gathered with the Elders on Saturday and God graciously revealed the purpose in His plan for my suffering all week. He showed me that when I thought the rope never moved it was because it was anchored on the Rock of Salvation. My boat ended up next to the Rock when the fog cleared. My brothers walked that path with me.
You see, great was the pull in prayer for my physical healing through the week, but greater still was my small journey to learn that my spiritual and emotional healing should have been the real focus. The battle between good versus evil all week in my life left me as physically damaged as if I was in a fist fight. I wonder how it would have gone if I had been prayerful for my sick heart?
Every reason the enemy turned my face toward to make me give up, my Savior turned His face towards me to give in to Him.
So when I reflect on who won the Great Debate between good and evil in my life I am left with this conclusion: evil struggled to speak - My Lord listened, evil worked to subvert my heart - my Lord protected it, evil interrupted at the throne of grace and yelled to prove my unworthiness - my Lord rose from His Throne of Grace and cast the liar away. No contest...my Lord won from the beginning and wins through the end!
Keep your focus and pray rightly for your spiritual and emotional health. Ask those in your circle how their soul is doing, and pray for their godly health as well. You never know, you may be the reinforcement God is using in that person's fight of their own to triumph good over evil!
Elder, Cornerstone Church