Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Armor Up

2 Kings 6:17
Then Elisha prayed and said, "O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see." So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Axel decided to leave the Micah Project and return to life in the streets. Michael and several others have talked with him and have been unable to get any clear reason from Axel about why he left. I saw him last Friday and he gave me his usual big, bright smile and waved. He doesn’t appear to be running from anything or anyone, as we first thought. He doesn’t appear to be afraid or unhappy in any way. He doesn’t seem to be angry or bitter. We can not find anything to give us a clue as to why he decided to leave.

You know what? That stinks. If there was some incident we could point to and say “aha, that’s what triggered it” we could try and fix the problem. But there is isn’t, there is only Axel’s own free will.

Barrio Buenos Aries is not a very safe place these days. Violence has been on the rise in that neighborhood for awhile, and the murder of William on the front steps of Michael’s apartment building made sure we didn’t forget that things are getting a bit sketchy. The front page of the newspaper is a photo of the latest homicide scene, or the word DENGUE in the largest font possible. There isn’t a day that we are able to forget the dangers of living in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. So we buy lots of mosquito repellent and try to walk the fine line between being poisoned by DEET and contracting Dengue; we don’t drive with the windows down or go out after 9:00 pm (if we can avoid it), and never walk the streets alone. We lock ourselves in the house behind steel barred windows and steel security doors and go to bed feeling safe and secure in our self imposed prison.

We take all kinds of precautions to protect ourselves from the dangers of the world. But do we take the time to protect ourselves from the real danger that’s out there? Ephesians 6:12 says: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. The media makes sure we don’t forget the dangers lurking in Tegucigalpa, but Satan doesn’t go to the same lengths to remind us that he is the real reason we need to be vigilant. When things are going smooth at Micah, or in life, it’s easy to forget the spiritual battle that rages all around us. But when something happens, something like Axel choosing to leave for no apparent reason, we remember what the real danger is. I know that when things go smooth I tend to let my guard down; I don’t spend as much time in the word, I don’t pray as much, I don’t bend my knee before the Lord as often. I used to pray for people to be taken out of painful or difficult situations in life. Now I pray for them to be taken through it, because only in walking through the fire do we learn to trust in the only sure form of safety, Jesus Christ.

As often as I forget where the true battle rages, I forget that I’m not alone in it. Sometimes I wish that, like the young servant, my eyes could be opened and I could see the armies of the Lord. Wouldn’t that be cool? To see the angels standing at the four corners of your house with their flaming swords? Or to see one of heaven’s warriors riding on horse and chariot as he takes out one of the demons of hell? Wouldn’t it be cool to see the prayers of the saints float up to heaven and then watch God issue the command to move out? There is a saga unfolding all around us greater than any blockbuster Hollywood will ever produce and we get to be part of the main cast.

I hope to be reminded often of the uncertainties of this world, not so I can put another lock on my door, but so I will remember to spiritually armor up before heading out that door.


Anonymous said...

Oh, so true. I love that verse about standing on the rooftop and having one's eyes opened to the horses and chariots of fire. We are also about to venture into a new door. Chris McCarthy, age 22, has just gotten out of prison in Ohio on drug charges. I was able to be in contact with him while he was in prison through my bereavement newsletter, and Chris accepted the Lord about two months ago. He was recently released but has no real place to go to--his mom kicks him out on a regular basis when she gets "stressed." Chris first said he was gay--now he says biracial, and has the tattoos to make it known to the world. Well, GPCC, here comes Chris! He will fly into Portland to live with us and go to school at PCC. Pray that Brian N and others will be able to disciple him and that the church body will embrace him for who he is--a new believer and a hurt, confused young man who has never known acceptance. Pray that we won't try to change him but will create the safe space where the Lord can work in his life as He knows best.
(You could tell Brian N he is coming the 19th, I think I told him the 20th but we moved it up.)
Praying for Axel--and where is Hector? These boys can break your heart, but in the end we will embrace them at Heaven's gate and all the pain and heartbreak will be forgotten.
love, Carol

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. Alex has really been heavy on my heart and I continue to pray for him daily.

You are such a great writer and I am always caused to stop and reflect on my own walk after reading your posts.

Praying for all of your protection: spiritually, emotionally and physically.

We love and miss you!


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