Takeover

3 06 2013

I was right – they were wrong. I was the “godly” person in this issue, they were the “sinner.” God was clearly on my side.

After all, He said so, didn’t He? I could go to the Psalms and borrow some quotes from David:

“The Lord is on my side…”

“Vindicate me, O Lord…”

“Deliver me from my persecutors…”

If my conflict was with an unsaved person, God was certain to take my side. After all, I’m His child – right? I waited for Him to “snuff out” my tormentors.

…and waited

…and waited.

Confused, I questioned Him about this.

“Tami, I am not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

At first I was dismayed to discover that He is not my personal “hitman.” It took a long time to trust Him with the outcome. I wanted swift retribution – He desired their salvation.

If you’ve ever been abused, it takes a while to get to the point where you’re okay with the idea that they may get saved – and get off the hook. I did not want this. I wanted to see my perpetrators burn in hell!

I had a lot to learn about grace…namely that I needed more of it than even my tormentors! After all, I’ve been cruel and unkind myself – if not in action, certainly in thought.

When the conflict was between me and another believer, somehow Psalms didn’t cut it for me anymore. After all, the same words were in their Bible, intended for them, too. Now, how did that work?

This threw me into a tailspin for quite a while. There was much to work out, a lot of understanding I needed to grasp.

What I wanted God to do with His body (of believers) was, as an arm, asking the head to shoot off the left little toe. I could not shake the mental image this brought on.

To add to my confusion, I ran across the account of Joshua when he was preparing to take out Jericho.

In case you’re not familiar with the story, the Israelites were preparing to move into the Promised Land. Their first battle would be won. God had promised total victory over the city – every person within its walls (with the exception of Rahab and her family) would be destroyed. (Joshua 6)

The last few paragraphs of Joshua 5, then, come as an enigma.

Joshua was surveying Jericho before the implementation of the battle plan he’d received from God. Suddenly a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand.

Joshua went to Him and asked, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” 

(See the Capital Letters above? This seems like a no-brainer. God sent them to wipe out this city, didn’t He? Of course He is for the Israelites. Just a few verses later, Joshua is told to remove his sandals, for this is holy ground. This “Man” is the Lord! They’re on His mission.)

The man replied, “No.”

Um, that wasn’t a “yes” or “no” question.  What do You mean, “no?”

The Man continued, “but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”

There was more to the scene than meets the eye at first. Each small story is part of the Big Story – His Story.

The people about to be destroyed were people the Lord had tried to reach earlier on in their own history. They had moved so far away from God that there would be no turning back (repenting) for them. Only Rahab and her family had hearts that were tender toward God.

God’s not thrilled with wiping out people. “For God so loved the world…”. He didn’t do a victory dance the day the walls fell flat. He loved every person who died that day.

It is no different today. Whether my adversary is a complete “heathen” or a member of God’s family, God loves them as much as He loves me.

There is a bigger Story at stake than my own mini-drama.

If I’m gut honest, there is something in me that the Lord wants to change through my conflict – pride, self-righteousness, willfulness, a lack of faith, or some other character trait that He wants to work in me. If I didn’t need it, He would not permit it.

He’s doing the same thing in my opponent, looking to do the greatest good for the most number of people.

It’s not all about me. (I hate fresh realizations that I’m not the center of the universe!)

At the end of the day, utterly confused and worn out from working through my fights mentally, I must come to the place where I cry out,

“Oh, Lord, don’t take sides…

…just take over.”

The light of a new day dawns, I am at peace; I find rest in the Lord.

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31 responses

17 08 2015
isaiah41v10

This reminds me of my children’s hockey game last week, where at half-time they were losing. I didn’t know until later, but at that point my precious 9-year-old tender-hearted daughter prayed, not that they would win, but that they would get a draw. She saw that the other team was playing well and didn’t want them to be too upset. The final score was 3-3. 🙂

17 08 2015
lessonsbyheart

What a sweet heart she has. What 9-year-old thinks like that? Yep. She’s a ‘keeper’!
\o/

5 06 2013
Dione~psalms348blog

“Don’t take sides…. just take over.” Love that!

5 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Works for me!…actually, it works out better for me in the long run! 😉

\o/

4 06 2013
Ann

I know that feeling 🙂 In a case against my ex-boyfriend (harassment) I really saw the changes the Lord had made in my heart when he was acquitted. The others in the courtroom who were on my side were disgruntled because it was a technicality basically. Everyone knew he was guilty yet he walked but not without a VERY stern warning from the judge. The change I saw was that as I led my way out the door I could hear the others murmuring behind me yet I had a subtle smile on my face because I saw and desired God’s grace. Having received so much of it, how could I not hope for that outcome 🙂 Trust me…the was definitely the Lord at work because on my own I am not that..hmm..”nice” 🙂 Blessings!

4 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

How wonderful that we can walk gently through such a broken world because of the amazing grace of our amazing God! Thank you for sharing this bit of your heart. As I suspected…nearly pure gold! 🙂
\o/

4 06 2013
Deena Siddle

I to have prayed that God would get those that had harmed me. I look back now and see that he did, my abusers came to know the Lord. Great post thank you for the reminder of who is in control.

4 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

He is good…
…all the time!

\o/

4 06 2013
Rob Barkman

All I can say is “AMEN” to this posting. Many times we think that the Lord will immediately deliver us from the trials and oppositions of life. When we do this it is obvious we are forgetting the purpose for many of life’s trials… to mature us in the faith. I have seen some of the most Godly Christians living day after day with trials they face. What a blessing it is to see His grace at work in the lives of those who patiently, faithfully, wait for His deliverance from the evils of this world.

Lord bless you. I’ve been blessed through this posting.

4 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

For many years that was my fervent cry – “Get me OUT of this trouble.” With age comes wisdom (well, at least a little bit!), now I cry – “Get this character problem OUT of ME so we can move on!” Makes a difference in how I handle problems, for sure.

Thanks for your comment. 🙂
\o/

3 06 2013
Mikey

Another great post. May the Lord continue to bless you!

3 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for your support. I really appreciate it!
\o/

3 06 2013
melanie jean juneau

Jean Vanier (founder of L’Arche) ” You can be right. You can be dead right and bring death to all those around you.

3 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Hmmm. Very good, and so true. Thanks for sharing.
\o/

3 06 2013
melanie jean juneau

🙂 loved the post by the way

3 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks. 🙂
\o/

3 06 2013
Toni Sprandel

awesome, again I find myself on this page, wanting to be the center of the universe and finding out, I am not. The LORD has much to do within me!

3 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Move over and make room for me in THAT line! 🙂
\o/

3 06 2013
sevennotesofgrace

Thanks for this. I just received some heated comments via facebook about my most recent post on going to church, and have been wrestling with whether or not to jump to my own defence and argue the point. Thanks for confirming what I knew to be the right course…..leave it with the Lord.

3 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Awesome!

Don’t forget that when Mordecai refused to bow to Haman, he stood alone. Not because he was being foolish, but because he hadn’t told everyone else about his “issues” with Haman. He had no supporters because none of his co-workers knew there was anything to support. In the end, God reigned supreme – and Haman…well…it didn’t go so well for him. Mordecai, on the other hand, was promoted.

Praying for you during this test!
\o/

3 06 2013
Larry Who

So, it’s not okay to pray: “O Lord, save them, but first smack them around a little bit for me, okay?”

3 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂

Well, I don’t know that He’ll assent, but it didn’t stop David from asking the Lord to break their bones and smash in their teeth. The Psalms are great fodder for prayers!

Of course, you have to go through the Psalm until you get to the “But I trust in You…” bit!

We read them so sweetly, but if you really consider the words being spoken and think about the emotion going into those prayers – whew! It’s a wonder (and proof of God’s grace) that the writers didn’t get zapped!
\o/

3 06 2013
SheddingLightOnDarkness

Thank you for sharing!

3 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thank you for reading! 🙂
\o/

3 06 2013
Michael

Please share out of my moment of joy by accepting a part of it @ http://justmikemon.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/three-time-best-moment-award-glory-to-god/…Congratulations 🙂

3 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Michael, I am humbled by your kind comments about Lessons by Heart…still in tears. Thank you, dear brother.

May God receive all the glory, praise, and honor.

His handmaiden,
Tami
\o/

3 06 2013
thesanctuaryofmyheart

So glad to be following your blog!!

3 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

I’m so glad to be of service. Isn’t our Lord wonderful?
\o/

3 06 2013
thesanctuaryofmyheart

He truly is. 🙂

3 06 2013
Kevin

I love that story about the commander of the Lords army! Great post! Very humorous too. I actually laughed out loud during the first part because it’s so true, we all want God to be our personal hitman! lol

3 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Nice to see you again!

Yeah, I’ve “ordered” Him to hit a few for me. Never worked, though!

\o/

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