Sometimes God does and sometimes God doesn’t, blessed be the name of the Lord.
This can sound like easy Christian speak, but at the end of the day it is all we have. Sometimes when we are counting on God to come through, sometimes, he doesn’t. I think of the mindset of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from Daniel 3, even though God does deliver them out of the flame, they had a mindset that is able to speak faith. A mindset.
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.
They acknowledge that God is able to deliver, but despite the outcome they will still serve him. This is also similar to what Job says when he has had his whole world taken from him.”The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job had lost everything and he decides to worship. Throughout the course of the book, while reflecting on the matter Job does start to want answers from God, but God never gives them.
This is when the fight of faith begins, it always seems to involve a “why?”
I believe this is what Paul means when he says fight the good fight of faith. He is referring specifically to defending good doctrine, but good doctrine usually comes into challenge when it is hard to hold onto. It is easier to come up with simpler more forgiving doctrine, which demands less and promises more. It is harder to hold the line when everything is falling down, it is harder to keep believing and trusting when everything seems to have failed. This is when we start to ask why. These are the situations when a call to fight is important. Later in chapter 6 Paul writes to Timothy telling him to guard that which was entrusted to him.
Fighting for and guarding his faith. Fighting implies opposition, guarding implies an attack to be fended off. It is easy to talk about faith, but it is difficult when we need to fight for it.I have been thinking about the line from Johnny Cash’s song Unchained:
It’s so hard to see the rainbow,
Through glasses dark as these.
Maybe I’ll be able,
From now on, on my knees.
Fighting the fight of faith always begins on our knees.
Job started here but as he kept looking at his circumstances, discussing it with his friends, running it through his mind, he began to desire an answer. He stood up a bit. I have found myself standing up a bit.
But just remembering the words helps me lower my stiff neck. Paul knew it, Job was reminded of it, and Johnny Cash sang it. I need a reminder too.
Returning to our knees is the best way to say Blessed Be.