Earlier today while manning my toll booth, a perky new Fiat in Verde Chiaro green rolled up to my window. The owner, smartly dressed, looked to be in her mid-fifties and rather sophisticated. From this toll collector’s vantage point, people often appear to be wearing their cars. So this struck me as a curious combination: mature sophistication driving perky car. I liked it. I liked it a lot and made a mental note for my own future reference.
When the Fiat paralleled the booth door my eyes locked onto her hands. Each wore a beige carpal tunnel support. I announced her fare as $5.55 and watched her ensuing dilemma. The zipper on her sleek gray purse jammed as she struggled in frustration to open it. I imagined the sharp pain racing from her hands to her forearms as she tugged repeatedly on the zipper. It yielded a small opening. She shoved two of her fingers into the hole desperately attempting to reach some money. She grimaced. I felt for her as she looked up at me as if to say, “I almost got it, give me another minute.” I smiled and hoped the customer behind her would not start honking. She kept digging.
I underwent dual surgeries for carpal tunnel syndrome last year. I knew pulling that tiny zipper pulsed pain in her hands, wrists and forearms. By His grace she managed to work her fingers like a tweezers into the reduced opening and pulled out a wad of cash. Her moment of mild anxiety passed but the physical pain remained. As she began exiting, I told her I hoped her pain would lessen throughout the day.
Her instant response slapped me silly for a moment;
” It won’t! But thanks for the luck.”
Her tone conveyed a positive certainty there was no relief from this pain. She accepted the pain as a constant part of her existence. Of course I don’t know her backstory. Perhaps she tried many failed treatments in the past? I may never see her again but her rapid retort stuck with me the rest of my shift.
I thought about how often we as believers have the same negative attitude when faced with painful issues. Our first response is not always faith. Sometimes its mature sophisticated pessimism. Where does that come from?
Habitual skepticism and/or pessimism has permeated our culture. All of us are touched by it. It is a dangerous duo mindset. But are we even aware of our exposure to it? Do we sense its presence in our personal life and its destructive effect on our faith?
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 New Living translation
Have we as believers become cynical and negative about prayer in our hearts? Has praying become a laborious routine lacking power? Each of us has to answer for ourselves.
What do we think the phrase ‘evil rulers of the unseen world’ means? If we have never thought about it, let’s consider this; Unbelief and negativity could be evil spirits of the unseen world on a mission to destroy our faith. If this is true, we must first be aware of them and then guard ourselves against them.
The Christian life is a daily battle so we suit up and learn to fight and FLURISH. Or we settle for pain and live in mediocre misery like our perky pessimist. For us as Christians this second choice almost makes a mockery of His fathomless sacrifice. Jesus died to give us power over these and many other tactical weapons of the enemy (See Isaiah 53). He told us the world would be painful, but in Him there is hope.
“. . . I have told you these things so that in ME you may have perfect peace and confidence. In the world you will have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer, take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted! For I have overcome the world. I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.” John 16:33 Amplified Bible
Our Lord has OVERCOME the world so HE can help us to overcome whatever we face. Doesn’t mean it will always be easy but it means we won’t be alone and in the end we will come out on top with Him. We can have His peace and confidence if we continue to come to Him and share our hearts. Don’t allow the world and its destructive powers like unbelief and negativity to lull you into attitudes that snuff out the fire of your faith. Prayer is our greatest weapon. Wield it believing HE will answer.
Meditate on Ephesians chapter 6.
Fight for FLURISHING Faith!
Shine on. . .