Faith and the Middle

My bathroom project continues.  Everything old is out, except for the toilet.  The old vanity is sitting in my bedroom.  The new tub is set in its new position, but of course not quite lining up as we thought.  I now have to do new flooring, because the old floor doesn’t match the new tub’s position.  I walked in there yesterday and prayed, “Lord, I thank you for having solutions for the known and unknown problems.”  Part of me just wants it done.  I don’t want to have to make more decisions.  However, most of the decisions are having to be made by my friend who is doing the work.  Some of the problems I see as major, he sees as minor.  We are obviously too far to quit.  I know and have faith that we will finish it.  It is going to be different already than I imagined, but I trust it will be a wonderful blessed room.  We need to keep going, not quit in the middle!

Bathroom Renovations
In the Middle

We do get tired in the “middle”, especially if we don’t know how long the race is or where they put the finish line!  I had been pushing for a while, but could not gauge exactly where I was.  I was tired.  I had been “de-lousing” my daughter’s hair all day and went into labor exhausted.  Sometimes life is messy and storms, struggles and warfare show up when we already feel weak.  I was reading in the book of Judges last week when I came across a story that is not fun to read, but the application is so encouraging, I wanted to share.

You can read the story in Judges 20.  Due to some unfortunate choices and incidents the all the Israelites were united in a fight against their brother tribe Benjamin.  The back story begins in Judges 19, but in 20 we find them seeking the Lord for His will and purpose.  They first tried negotiations, but the Benjamites refused to give up the men responsible for the uproar.  They chose to fight their brethren.

The Israelites went to Bethel and asked God, “Which tribe should go first to attack the people of Benjamin?”  The Lord answered, “Judah is to go first”.  So the Israelites left early the next morning and camped near Gibeah.  Then they advanced toward Gibeah to attack the men of Benjamin.  But Benjamin’s warriors, who were defending the town, came out and killed 22,000 Israelites on the battlefield that day.

Wow, what a defeat.  They assumed they would win because their cause was just and they had heard God’s strategy (send Judah first), but they lost.  Did they give up?  No.  They went back to the Lord

But the Israelites encouraged each other and took their position again at the same place they had fought the previous day.  For they had gone up to bethel and wept in the presence of the Lord until evening. They had asked the Lord, “Should we fight against our relatives from Benjamin again?”

And the Lord had said, “Go out and fight against them”.

So the next day they went out again to fight against the men of Benjamin, but the men of Benjamin killed another 18,000 Israelites, all of whom were experienced with the sword.

Then the Israelites went up to Bethel and wept in the presence of the Lord and fasted until evening.  They also brought burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord.  The Israelites went up seeking direction from the Lord…should we fight against our relatives from Benjamin again, or should  we stop?”  The Lord said, “Go! Tomorrow I will hand them over to you”.  

Three times they sought the Lord and even though they were defeated twice, they did not give up.  They continued seeking Him and HIs ways.  We, too, must not give up in the middle of the battle.  We must move on.  Before we begin we must count the cost to our best ability (Luke 14:28); then we must determine to move forward.  If we quit in the middle, we will only feel shame, guilt and defeat.  Don’t quit fighting the battle for your marriage, your children or your loved ones.  Keep on until there is clarity from the Lord and a release from the battle.  We may lose some battles, but we know God has already won the war, so press on.  Encourage yourself with worship, the Word and fellowship with others, but press on.  Do not quit.  Take a break if you need to, but do so with the end in sight.  Keep on, my dear friends.  We do not fight against flesh and blood, but against principalities in high places, so make sure you are not fighting a spiritual battle with fleshly tools.  Always remember, greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world.

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