Our Protector

A few months ago my husband and I were walking along a moonlit beach together. While the golden orb hanging in the night sky overhead was breathtaking to look upon, it emitted a minimal amount of light, leaving a fairly dark path to be traversed. As we strolled along quietly through the splashing waves, our attention was drawn to a small group of people approaching us. Without missing a stride, my husband moved to my other side, deftly placing himself between me and the strangers. It took a few moments before I realized that Jon had moved himself into the place of potential harm in order to protect me from any possible threat that might be lurking in the shadows. And while the group of strangers turned out to be merely a small entourage of nighttime beach combers, I was touched by the protective spirit that is a part of my husband’s character.

This seemingly insignificant action has continued to surface in my thoughts and remind me of how selflessly Christ positions Himself to be my Protector. Sliding into the gap between me and the forces of darkness, taking a stance to defend against any eternal harm.

Unfortunately, that position is not without cost. The blood of Calvary continues to splatter across the centuries, pouring drop after drop of mercy upon His beloved. And sometimes the blood of His saints is mingled with the drops of His own as lives are sacrificed for the sake of the Gospel. From church bombings in Pakistan, to the execution of North Korean saints for owning a Bible, to scores of believers imprisoned and tortured the world over because of their faith, these are just a few reminders of the atrocities against God’s chosen ones.

In the midst of such violence, it’s easy for the world to accuse that our Protector has been rendered defenseless against the forces of darkness.

It’s easy to forget that this world is not our home when we cling so desperately to it.

But that’s only because these mortal eyes are fixed upon the temporal.

While the pain and suffering of this moment is very real for many of my international brothers and sisters, it is also fleeting. A mere whisper of grief against a symphony of grace. Those whose lives were “lost” in the bombings and executions were immediately “found” and ushered into heavenly courts by their Protector. I can’t help but wonder how quickly their earthly fears were placed to rest, consumed by the reality of their Hope being fully realized in the newness of eternal life granted to them with the blink of an eye.

For those left behind who are still reeling with grief and terror, I pray for the presence of the Protector to be large and very near. May they be comforted by a peace that transcends the confines of this world we are visiting. Similarly to the short vacation our family experienced this past September, our earthbound days will pass quickly before we return Home.

May our Lord be merciful to make the memories sweet and the trials short until we all arrive.

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The Lord is their strength, and He is the saving refuge of His anointed. Save Your people, and bless Your inheritance; shepherd them also, and bear them up forever.
~ Psalm 28:8-9

When Life is More Than Bumps and Bruises

Cancer. Death. Sickness. Marital strife. Persecution. Imprisonment. Loneliness. Isolation. Grief.

These are words that have become common in the lives of those surrounding me. This has been a year of being shaken by the massive quantity of hurt in this world. By the amount of hurt in those whom I love.

So how do I help to alleviate the pain?

How can I possibly tell a friend with cancer that “Everything will be okay”?

How can I console a friend in a broken marriage when there is no guarantee that there is a healing at the end of her painful struggle?

How can I encourage a persecuted brother who is living a life of separation from everyone he loves, from all that is known and familiar to him?

How can I press my hands against this bleeding mass of humanity that surrounds me when I only have two hands and a human body that is limited by so many of my own frail weaknesses?

The truth is, I can’t.

I can’t fix what is broken.

I can’t mend hearts.

I can’t restore relationships or stop religious persecution.

I can’t bridge miles of separation, nor repair the damage that has been inflicted by the forces of broken promises and betrayal.

But I can pray.

I can place my friends at the foot of the Cross and trust that He who heals the nations can heal the hurt of a loved one. That the One who restores the prostitute and makes her His beloved Bride can breathe life into all this brokenness and bring about a work of beauty. A rendition of redemption that only a Savior can cast and mold and make into a reflection of His glory.

And today, I must trust that my prayers are enough.

Enough for the friend with cancer.

Enough for the grieving parent.

Enough for the lonely wife.

Enough for the brokenhearted.

images Because sometimes life is more than bumps and bruises.

Sometimes the hurt penetrates to the core of who we are.   

But it never penetrates beyond the reach of a heavenly hand that promises to uphold and sustain through it all.

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be shaken.” ~ Psalm 55:22