The Enemy Within
Thank God Numbers is over. But darn it, Deuteronomy isn't much better.
Today I am working the evening shift so I am taking this opportunity to sleep in, sit in a coffee shop and get caffeine into my brain.
Deuteronomy isn't so bad, but I'm sure that my dissatisfaction in it has got to just be a reflection on my own dissatisfaction in life right now. But as the caffeine enters my bloodstream, remembrances of what God is doing, His faithfulness, and love is entering my heart-stream.
Coming back to work this week after my fantastic weekend away was both a rude boredom and an exciting relief. I don't enjoy my job. I wish I could wake up late and write in a coffee shop like I am this morning. There's a lot of different things I'd rather do with my time than work in the hectic restaurant environment. So I was bored and upset about that this week.
But I was also blessed this week. Because besides the fact that I probably would be more bored unemployed...having a job helps me feel productive and actually gives me the energy to work on the things I love more consistently. Besides all that, I was blessed with evidence that my job is INDEED ministry. Relationships were developed, conversations were had, and I don't know what's going to come from it all but I do know I prayed from the very beginning of this job that I would be able to make an impact for Jesus Christ, and I think it's happening.
I'm reminded of the day I found my job. I looked for a mere 3 hours for a job after making the incredibly difficult decision to drop out of grad school. I felt like I wasn't making sense in my life decisions...I was confused where God was leading and God led me straight to the job He wanted me in. When I think about that and I think about the people I know now through this job I am convinced of how actively the Lord is pursuing their hearts. And I'm overwhelmed to be a part of it.
When I first read this portion of Luke this morning pre-coffee, pre-remembering-God's-faithfulness, I was a little discouraged. It was not exactly what I wanted to read.
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
In general, I find it hard to call someone my enemy. In most cases I feel like that's really dramatic. Lately, I might admit I've found it easier in some cases, which is why this passage was particularly difficult for me today. But how many people are really my enemy?
There's an enemy in all of us, there's an enemy in me. Even the most compatible people can be enemies to each other. And in this world we shun the enemy. When we find the enemy in another person we will not tolerate it, we will not stand for it. At times we will condemn the whole person for the enemy in them.
I think of how many people get divorced. They are in love, they are friends, until they encounter the enemy within and even the friend in each other is not worth tolerating the enemy in each other.
But with Jesus we know the friend is worth it. With Jesus we don't turn away from the enemy, we answer to it. Because Jesus has the answer for the enemy in all of us.
My pre-caffeinated brain was mad, focusing on the enemy. The enemy seems overwhelming. But the only thing overwhelming is Jesus and our eternal destination: Heaven.
In all my dissatisfaction. In all my frustration. In all my disappointment. In all my boredom. In all of the things that made pre-coffee-me unhappy. Thank You, for You have reminded me that my actual life is Heaven. This is only for a short window of time. Heaven has been set before me and there the friend will reign. You, Jesus, laid everything down to pay the price of the enemy...the battle is already won.
The battle is already won.
Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High...
Heaven come. You already are.