what if you were last in line yesterday?

October 2, 2015

What if you were last in line yesterday? Not at the grocery story or the cafeteria or the book store, but really last in line. The only line that seemed to matter at all yesterday. The one where very deliberately one man determined the fate of those in front of him. Based on their faith.

Yes, friends. Based on stories in the media today, they had to either proclaim their faith or renounce it. Right there and then. And, many of them watched as others were gunned down. Before them. For claiming their faith in Jesus.

This makes my heart just ache. For so many reasons.

Yes, many reasons are evident as we all share in this tragedy. For all of those who lost loved ones yesterday. Unexpectedly. Violently. Tragically. For all of those who are now trying to pick up the pieces the day after such a horrific crime. And, yes, even for the lone gunman who in all accounts had to be so very lost.

But there are so many more reasons. It breaks for all of us who love Jesus and may one day (it could be soon) have to choose to proclaim our faith or renounce it in exchange for our life. For our children who may face similar choices as well.

Really, don’t we have to proclaim our faith or renounce it every day in some way or another? By the choices we make or don’t make. Yes, our faith challenges are growing heavier and heavier as this world grows further and further away from truth and love and sacrifice and morals and honesty and integrity and yes, you and I both know it, God.

As heavy as my heart is today, I don’t want to focus just on that. Of course, I would never make light of this tragedy or push it aside in hopes that my feelings will subside and life will go on. Instead, I want to find myself more convicted after this tragedy as to my role as a true follower of Christ. Yes, as hard as it is to pull up your boot straps after such a heartbreaking day, we must do just that.

Friends, we have no choice but to go to battle for all of those who lost their lives yesterday in Oregon. And, for all of those in harm’s way in the Middle East. For the unborn babies exploited and killed at the hands of our nation’s disregard. And, yes, for all of those who are hanging by their threads of faith in the balance all over the world. I need to remember. We all need to remember. We need our hearts to ache over injustice and disobedience and faithlessness and devastation such as these.

Trust me, His heart is aching. And, He never forgets.

My heart will never forget the body of the young Syrian refugee boy who washed up on the shore in Turkey after attempting to flee his country for a better place. Or, the lives of those lost in the World Trade Center tragedy. Or, the story yesterday as it unfolded to be yet another act of terror against Christianity. The same faith that I claim as do many of you.

Thank goodness, because of my heartache, I pray I will never be the same.

I do want to remind myself and you and our children and the world that this is not where it ends. That although time seems to stand still in the wake of such a horrific event and evil seems to be rampant; this is not where it ends.

Praise God! There is so much more.

There is hope. There is love. There is grace. There is mercy. There is promise. There is One. Who never leaves or forsakes us. Who never forgets. Who never will be defeated.

In fact, it has all been done for all eternity. May we never forget.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” {John 16:33}

Now, back to my question. It keeps resonating in my head. Over and over again.

What if I had been last in line yesterday? What if I had stood by and watched as each one who proclaimed their faith was gunned down? What if I knew I was next? That he would ask me and I would have to decide to proclaim my faith or renounce it? Can I be honest? I think I would proclaim it. I hope I would proclaim it. I am just not sure.

I know that through no power of my own could I do this. Especially knowing I might never live to see those I love again. And, thinking that there is so much I hope to still do on this earth before I leave. And, yes, selfishly, that I would not want to feel the pain that my decision would bring.

No, of my own, I don’t have that kind of power. This is why we must go to battle, friends.

“For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.“ {Ephesians 6:12}

We can’t be too prepared for this battle. It is real and it is fierce. Our souls and the souls of all we know hang in the balance for all eternity. I know, this is heavy stuff, but every day we are faced with heavy attacks on our faith. And, our families. And, our cities. And, our schools. And, everywhere we turn the enemy is at work.

I don’t think we really get it. I think that most of our lives center around how to survive the mundane of today rather than the spiritual needs of tomorrow. I am sad to confess, most days mine do. If I can just get through the dress up days and the grocery shopping and the work day and the next simple thing I will wish my day away until I start all over again tomorrow. Until a day like yesterday rocks my mundane.

I want to be different because of these tragedies that others have been faced with. I don’t want to sit back and wait for the next one. Instead, I want to be on my knees proclaiming His truths and promises for my family and this great world while asking for His protection for all. I want to really know the only One who can prepare me and my family for that day when we might be last in line. I want to be so full of His Spirit that my heart can’t help but proclaim His glory whether in the line of fire or the line in the grocery store.

I do believe the only way any of us can be prepared to be last in line is to be on our knees.

If we haven’t experienced what it means to pray without ceasing yet, can we just ask God to give us a heart for just that. While we sleep and play and focus on the next day’s mundane, the enemy is focusing on the battle at hand. Think about it, if you and I were in a real battle with real guns in enemy territory, would we sit back and worry over what we would wear tomorrow? Or, what team would win this weekend? I don’t think so. Let’s accept these tragedies as what they really are, friends. They are a call to battle for all Christians.

And, yes, that battle is best fought on our knees. In all humility and in all thankfulness and in all belief that the Lord of Lords reigns victorious over all darkness. And, that He is the only power we need to defeat the evil one. He is ready and willing to equip us for this battle and He knows we will be the victor if we are in His army.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of god so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” {Ephesians 6:10,11}

When you have time, read verses 10 – 20 of that chapter. Powerful truth that says over and over again to pray. Keep on praying. That my friends is our #1 assignment for this battle. To pray! And, yes, He will supply all we need.

There is no question. We have all we need if we are in Him and He is in us to be last in line.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” {Philippians 4:19}

I have no doubt as those precious souls one by one proclaimed their faith in Him, He opened the gates of heaven and the angels sang. I have no doubt that His heart ached for their families and loved ones and that He was capturing every tear that was shed as they learned of this tragedy and is still doing so today and every day to come that they feel sorrow. I have no doubt that the enemy was defeated again and again with every sweet voice that stated that they followed Jesus. I have no doubt that as bad as yesterday was in the eyes of many that this could be a turning point for all of us who gladly claim the name Christian. I have no doubt that God uses all things for the good of those who love Him and that even today He is bringing beauty out of these ashes.

“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” {Isaiah 61:3}

Sweet Heavenly Father,
We humbly come before you and praise you that the battle has been won on Calvary long ago. Please Father, bring comfort and bring peace to all who are suffering in the wake of yesterday’s tragedy as only you can. Uphold this town with your mighty right hand and restore their ability to trust. Help them to see you working in a mighty way. We ask that you take this tragic and horrific event and use it for your greater good. That lives will be changed and people saved and hearts opened. Please Lord, prepare us for the day that we too might be last in line. Give us courage and strength to proclaim our faith every single day. In little ways and big ways. Grant us the desire to never be the same and to never stop preparing for this battle. Equip us with every promise and truth we need to stand firm in the face of the enemy and his attacks on our hearts. Bless us with opportunity to be more and more like Jesus to a lost and hurting world, Lord. And, yes, forgive us and heal our land. May you become the center of our lives and Lord of this great land and country again. Once and for all.
In the precious name of the One who taught us to be last, Jesus.
Amen.

You Might Also Like

1 Comment

  • Reply Dianne Carlton October 2, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Thank you Jen! Your words bless my heart!

  • Leave a Reply

    Subscribe to With All Her Heart and never miss a post!

    Subscribe to Blog via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.