There is always more… the Good Book says God prepares a table for us in the presence of your enemies. We will always have enemies that attempt to rob us, to threaten us, to reject us, and keep us from enjoying life as God intended.
Have you noticed, God doesn’t remove us from danger, or from our enemies? HE does the totally unexpected, HE throws a party right in the middle of the chaos.
From a human standpoint, this is not exactly a popular strategy. I remember a number of times when I would have willingly skipped the party and settled for God to send a full-scale, frontal attack, into Enemyland. I have prayed for a “cloak and dagger” rescue. I’ve pointedly asked for God to “eliminate” the enemy. And, I’ve requested that He turn back the clock, but He never has…He’s done better. I see it now!
William has invested incredible energy avoiding threat and risk and even the thought of enemies. He thinks it’s spiritual to avoid danger. When he falls, he doesn’t climb back on the horse, he just moves on to the next appointment. Risk has become a rival. For him spirituality is all about safety and piety and quiet normality. He’s missing the party.
The shallow end of the pool is filled with the normal people who want to be safe, to be comfortable, to splash the water, but stay clear of the deep. These normal people may appear religious, they probably go to church regularly, but without crisis, without enemies, they will miss the life that God intends. They will become pretenders, posers.
Real faith-people have enemies; they face struggles, storms, and danger zones; their crisis times are painful, even relentless, but God is right there in the middle of it, working a holy wonder. Bringing out the best in HIS people. HE shows up, stands up, cleans up, and clears up.
Then, just as the celebration winds down, a new plot-twist is introduced.
More danger ahead, another storm threatens, a new enemy emerges, and like it or not, we prepare for the next party.
Within weeks Pam’s new stepfather began sexually abusing her; the world of childhood innocence tragically disappeared before she turned seven.
“Early on,” Pam recalled, “my mother bought a Bible from a Bible salesman. She said it looked nice on the coffee table. She told me never to touch it, but when she was out of the house I would read it. I started talking to God everyday. I prayed that if God loved me, He would take me to live with him.”
By the time Pam began Junior High her mother had grown dangerously psychotic, regularly beating her and threatening her with knives. But, Pam never told a soul. It was her secret.
“At 19, I was still living at home, but sneaking off to church when I could. On the day I was baptized I felt happy for the first time in my life,” Pam remembered.
“Somehow my mother found out. She flew into a fit of rage, grabbed a butcher knife and chased me down the street screaming that she was going to kill me. I was terrified. I ran into the night with no shoes, no money and no place to go. I spent that night hiding in the bushes and never went back.”
Pam escaped that night with her life, but rejection followed her for years. First her parents, then her first husband, her doctors and finally her church. She longed for the party, that was yet to be.
Then at 45 years-of-age Pam was put on a new treatment for Severe Psychotic Depression and for the first time felt what others call “normal.” “I was overjoyed with being normal. It felt so good. Now I had a place to rest. I finally learned that God loves me no matter how messy things get. But, trust is tough to learn, if you grew up with lies and rejection. I still feel broken and defective on the inside.” She explained. “So, I live each day hiding it and hoping it doesn’t pop up.”
“So Ron,” she wrote, ”I want to stay where I am. I like “normal” even if it’s tenuous. How could I ever be better than normal? I don’t want more surprises, more adventure, more pain, or more unexpected challenges. Just give me peaceful, comfortable, normal.”
“But Pam, there is so much more,” I said. “You have become a star in God’s story and he wants to throw a party for you. He wants to do it NOW.”
Are you holding your place on the sidelines? Are you splashing in the shallows? Remember, God never promised comfort, He promised enemies.
Your life is not about you, nor your pain: it’s all about him. The plot line is His. It’s His story, His adventure, His fingerprints, His forgiveness, His surprises, and His grace.
The plot-lines seem never ending, but the parties are “to die for.”
Ask God for ears to hear and eyes to see. Say the words, “God, I am ready to party in the presence of my enemies. So, can I help plan it?”