Down but not Out

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Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness the Lord will be my light.” Micah 7:8

Grief. Sickness. Fear. Pain. Spiritual Warfare.

Battles!

Confusion. Depression. Anxiety. Closed Doors. Sadness.

Battles!

Anger. Frustration. Sin. Malice. Persecution.

Battles!

Indecision. Missed opportunities. Busy-ness. Finances. Weariness.

All Battles!

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Battles have a way of knocking us off our feet. Do you ever get tired of fighting them? Is it hard for you, like it is for me, to get back up? It can be utterly exhausting if we try to wage war against them by ourselves.

As I really let this verse sink in, I think of something my mother once taught me: When you are down, or you have fallen, ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that will happen?” By earthly standards, it is death.There are many dear souls I know that are grappling with that as a very real possibility in their world right now too. But the good news is that for those of us who trust in Christ as our Savior and Lord of our lives, what our world calls “death” is the ultimate “rise” we will ever experience. Thanks be to Jesus!

Most of the time though, we will fall down and then rise back up several times, before getting to leave this earth to join our Heavenly Father. In some ways, that can be even more daunting to think about. It can make the journey ahead and all the ups and downs that go along with it seem long, dark and tedious, to say the least.

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So what does that mean for us in the meantime – while we wait to “rise” for the final time; never to fall down again? Is there any light up ahead of what seems like a never-ending road? What shall we do with ourselves every time we fall down? Where is the light to help us face the day?

“The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

It’s hard to be still when we feel we have fallen down – when we are under attack. Everything within us screams, “Get back up!” and “Do it NOW!” But there are times for us to stop everything, take cover, and let God do the work He is best at: Faithful Restoration.

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Let’s return for a moment to what we are up against, which should firm up our resolve to move aside and ask the Lord to fight these battles for us:

There is an ongoing battle for all that we are and all we can be in Christ, and it’s a relentless one. Satan is not happy when he sees us moving toward the Lord and the Light that He is. He doesn’t want us to walk upright. He wants us to be down and to stay there. The faster we bounce back up, the more arrows he orders to come our way. That is just one of his strategies in this war. And make no mistake, he will never stop until the Lord puts an end to it once and for all (which He promises He will do – read Revelation!)

Marry that knowledge to our very real, sinful nature, along with the iniquities of this imperfect world, and we are bound to fall down throughout our lives – multiple times.

We can also fall down out of complete and utter exhaustion – from getting so busy we don’t stop to allow the Lord to restore our souls, fill us with energy, renew our minds, our bodies, and our spirits with the fullness of Him. Spending time just being still in His presence is vital to our health and well-being. Plus, it is something the Lord greatly desires from US. We shouldn’t wait until we fall down to do this. But sometimes we do. I know I am guilty of it – far too often.

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NOT SO!!!!.

But the smug and evil enemy likes to make us think that when we are down, we are out. But even in the dark times – even in the times that we fall down – whether it is our own fault or because some arrow has temporarily pierced us; no matter where we are – down or up – we are never out if we trust in the Lord with all our hearts as our one and only Savior. For He is our Protector. He is our Light in the darkness. And He has promised He will never leave us.

When we have fallen down, the Lord is there comfort us and to pick us back up when the time is right. He will shield us, He will rock us, and He will build us back up to what we need to be in order to continue our earthly journey.

But He wants for us to linger a while so he can heal us, cleanse us, and give us renewed strength to face the continuing days ahead. His wings are mighty enough to cover us in all times – the times in which we are strong and upright, and the times where we have nothing left within us and we have fallen down in despair.

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The Lord is faithful in all things, and we especially need to crawl beneath the shelter He offers to us in the times where we are under attack. This is the safest place to be by far. And we need to trust in Him and His perfect timing before we re-emerge into battle.

When we come to the Lord to take us in and offer refuge, we truly are not hiding at all. For there is light there in that darkness, and nothing can put out His glorious light. He tells us a lot in His word that His light shines all the brighter through the darkness and our weakness. If we remain calm and avoid panic, His strength can be made perfect.

“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John 1:5 ESV

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Let the Lord be the place that you linger – when you are up and when you are down. Let him blanket you in His light, His strength, and His power. Don’t come out until you are ready, refreshed and fully restored.

Better yet, we could choose to bask in His presence every single day, and move aside for HIm fight our battles for us from the very beginning!

It’s hard not to want to be “let out” when we feel we are in the dark or in a place of rest. But we can revel in the fact that we will not be alone during troubling times and the Lord will not allow us to abide in the dark alone. We can rest in the assurance that He is preparing us to emerge all-the-stronger. He will not shut us out – not ever.

In our “down” we are still IN HIM.

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He asks us to accept the fact that there will be dark times, even to be content with that, for He is with us then, just as He is with us now. He also asks us to place our hope in Him and all that He wants to do for us when we remain tucked away in His presence.

5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”Hebrews 13:5

I am so glad to know that the Lord, our God will never leave us. My only concern is that if I crawl beneath those wings and get too comfortable, I shall never want to come out.

Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Maybe that’s what it is to be ALL the way in.

In HIM.

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