April 28, 2010

blessed assurance

I stood in the battlefield, the cries of war all around me.
In spite of the death on the field, I was happy.
Happy that I was strong, that I was well trained for this battle, happy that I had conquered and taken my ground.
The sun shone on me, and I basked in my glory.
I laid aside my sword and armour. I didn't need it anymore.
I was the victor.
I had stood.

I didn't worry when the clouds rolled in and the thunder crashed.
I barely noticed when my team began to warn me of the advancing Enemy.
I trusted in my strength. It had never failed me before. I was good at this.
I would fight to the end of every battle.

The sky over me blackened, the air thickened.
The battle around me faded as The Enemy rose, giant before me.
"Fight for me and I will spare your life," he enticed.
Still stubborn, I stood without sword or armour and declared mine own strength.
He laughed in glee. At my strength.
"This will be fun," he mocked.

At first I fought.
But with each step, my strength failed me.
With each blow, my life's blood gushed.
I listened to his flowery promises even as he sliced at my limbs.
I lowered my fists.
I went backwards.
"Are you ready to give in yet," he wanted to know.
I felt my bones breaking and my body crushed.
In my loss, I asked him to spare me. I could not go on.
He crowed in triumph. He had won this battle.
I was his to take.

His vise tightened on my throat.
I smelt his breath as he lifted me off my feet.
"You should have known I was only toying with you. I would not let you live. Your strength has made you weak."
I felt my heart fail.
Fear overtake me.
There were none to save me in this battle.
My team watched in dismay. Knowing that if I had only kept my sword in my hand, I would not be bleeding.

As I took my last breath, I saw fear cloud his eyes.
I felt his grip loosen.
He dropped me.
Began frantically to pull at his sword.
But there was no hope for The Enemy. The Great Defender had come, the One Who had shaken hell's gates.
And He had come for me.

He fought my battle for me, took me from The Enemy's grasp.
"She is mine, and I will not give her up. Run while you can, Deceiver."

The Enemy fled. I rolled to my belly, too ashamed to look my Defender in the eye.
I had failed Him. Disappointed Him. Hurt Him.
"Come," He said, "I will care for you."
"How can you care? Look what I have done to you," I cried.
"Because I love you, and I cannot stop," He replied.
"But I will never be able to fight again. These wounds will never heal properly. They're too deep. What good am I now? What worth do I have? You might as well cast me aside. Forsake me."

He staunched the flow of sin, and wrapped my wounds.
Balm of Gilead.
"You depend on your own strength. You have forgotten the One Who gives strength. The One Who trained you. You never had any worth of your own. You're a Polly Pocket, small and empty. I've given you this sword. I've given you this armour. Don't lay it aside. Bind it to your fingertips and write it upon the table of your heart. Lean on my strength and it will not fail you. You will fight again."
He turned to go from my bedside.

"But, my Defender, look at me. Look at my scars. Will my team not shudder at the sight of them? Will they not push me from the battle? I'm disfigured. There's so much scar tissue."
He looked down at me with pity.
He unlaced His boots, and removed His shirt as He spoke,"You will carry those scars for the rest of your life. They will hinder you, sometimes stop you. You received them in shame and failure. But don't give up."
He spread His palms, and showed me the scars on His feet and side.
"My scars are greater than yours. My scars make you worthy. My scars will enable you to fight. My scars are what the Commander sees when He looks at you. My scars are what makes the Comforter come. My scars were received for your sake. My blood was shed for your sake. Do not forget what I have done for you, and your scars will fade. Fight for me. Live for me."

"Why, my Defender, did you sacrifice for me? Why do you give me hope? Why do you care for me even in my failure? I cannot understand it."

"Because I love you, and I cannot stop."