STEP ONTO THE BATTLEFIELD

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*The following is part of a series called “A Changed Perspective” to challenge the way in which we view the world, culture, people, and places from a biblical perspective. Undoubtedly, for Christ followers to live in the world but not be of the world is a challenging task, but with humble spirits, teachable hearts, the Word of God, and His Spirit that lives within to guide and lead us, He allows us to be part of His redemptive work in the world around us.

I (Eric) am excited for you to hear from our dear friend Darci and honored that she even considered writing this post for us! Darci is a wife, mother of five, and while she may only be 5’2”, she is as fierce and courageous as they come! Reading this blog for the first time with my wife as we drove to Wyoming, I was moved to tears as her reflections touched the deepest part of my soul. I trust it will do the same for you.

From an early age, I remember being inspired and challenged by Bible stories. There was one in particular that always stood out to me, the story of David and Goliath. I remember hearing this story and declaring to myself that someday I wanted to have the faith of David! Someday, I would be brave and face giants when no one else around me would. Now that I am older, this passage continues to challenge and inspire me.

David was a shepherd boy who was the youngest of eight brothers. His oldest three brothers were fighting with Saul against the Philistines. One day, David’s father asked him to deliver lunch to his brothers who were off in battle. As David arrived, he saw Goliath walk out in front of the Philistine army and yell insults at the Israelites, taunting both them and God. When David heard this, he became very angry and asked who was going to stand up and fight this man, but no one was willing. They all trembled in fear. David’s oldest brother heard him ask these questions and in turn, became angry with David. He asked him why he came and told him to go back home to his sheep and even accused David of being conceited. Instead of acknowledging his brother, David found Saul and told him he wanted to fight Goliath. Saul told him he couldn’t possibly fight, he was too young and had no experience. In response, David argued that while tending his father’s sheep, he killed both lions and bears. Saul said, “Go, and the Lord be with you.” Giving David his armor, David said, “I cannot go in these, I am not used to them.” With no other protection, he went to the stream and chose five smooth stones and put them in his pouch. His slingshot in hand, he walked onto the battlefield. Goliath laughed and taunted him, but David stood strong. He swung his sling around and then let go and the rock hit Goliath straight between the eyes and the Philistine crashed, face down in the dirt! David cut off Goliath’s head using his own sword against him and delivered the head to Saul and put Goliath’s weapon in his tent.

Walking through this past year I often have been strengthened and encouraged by this story. It was almost a year ago that I fully surrendered my plan for my life to the Lord. I had become very comfortable in my lifestyle and did little to engage in the growing lost world around me. One night after my family was in bed, I laid myself out before the Lord and cried out to Him. “Here I am,” I said, “I’m done living for myself, give me a purpose! Give me Your heart! I will go wherever You send me, I will do whatever You ask of me, regardless of the cost.”

God does not waste time. It was almost immediately that He put an intense burden on my heart for the indigenous people. The irony was that I literally didn’t have a personal relationship with even one Native American. I don’t know if you have ever had a heavy burden for something with no resolution as to how to move forward, but that is what most of this journey has felt like for me, especially in the beginning. Every step I took, every connection I made, it was all foreign to me. I gained wisdom and understanding by diving deep into research of a new culture and the Word of God along with learning to follow the leading and promptings of the Holy Spirit. I wanted a big picture plan with all the details laid out, but I accepted the reality that I often only knew one small step at a time. I spent the year walking through many forms of awkward and uncomfortable. I followed and did what I felt the Lord was asking of me, regardless of the fact that this usually meant going to places where I knew no one, where I often questioned if I was accepted or even wanted. I was simply doing my best to walk in obedience.

It’s sad how we can watch a Hallmark movie that portrays someone laying down their lives for the least of these and they are honored and respected, but when we try to apply those same principles into our real lives, they are not as warmly welcomed. I was faced with the reality that God had given me an extreme love for a people group that was looked at with great prejudice in our own community. Even in my own heart, I had to repent of feelings I carried that I didn’t even realize I had. I think I assumed because God shared His vision with me that everyone would get on board and support our family in this. Unfortunately, more often than not, that was not the case. People would flood me with their concerns: you will be murdered, you will be raped, you are a woman and it is not safe for you, you are putting your family in danger, you need to focus on family and do ministry later. The reality of moving forward in the Lord’s leading is that the more I would pursue Him the more I could feel a growing distance between others who were not willing to do the same. I had to let go of the desire to be liked and release the comfort I had known in what it meant to be accepted. Time and time again God tells us not to live in fear; He also commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves – but, I think, as Christians that line gets blurred due to the stronger desire for safety and comfort.

David loved God so much that he was willing to defend Him no matter the cost. He did what he knew was right, even when no one supported him. His own family and community didn’t believe in him. They made fun of him and laughed at him. When everybody else was looking at the size and reputation of Goliath, David was looking at the problem through spiritual eyes. He saw that Goliath did not belong to God and that he also did not have divine help on his side. David was younger, smaller in stature, had no experience in battle, but he knew the power of his God.

David was about to fight the scariest, largest, most intimidating man any of them had ever seen before, and when Saul offered David his armor he said, “I can’t go in these, I am not used to them.” Sometimes, when we are facing a frightening or intimidating situation, people may often try to offer or even force their armor upon you. The thing is, you can’t fight your battle using someone else’s armor. God gave David everything he needed that day. It didn’t matter if others looked at his weapon as a joke. God didn’t want David to use Saul’s weapons; He intended for David to use what He provided, in this case, a slingshot.

Because I have been willing to step out into what at times has felt impossible, I have seen God show up in incredible ways. I have witnessed monumental prayers answered, large amounts of money show up out of nowhere when needed, I have experienced God’s healing power in action, and witnessed many strongholds being broken. I have watched as the eyes of sorrow and desperation change to eyes filled with hope by simple acts of kindness. I have made some of the deepest friendships with people that I may not have otherwise known.

The story of David ends saying David placing Goliath’s weapon in his tent. I like to believe that somewhere in David’s tent Goliath’s sword rests next to the lion and bear paws so that every day he would look at those things and continually be reminded that God has always shown up for him in His battles. Yes, David was small, he was untrained for battle, he had all the odds stacked up against him, but, he knew who was on his side. May we all be bold enough to choose to live our lives willing to step onto the battlefield and fight for what we know is right, regardless of our fears and feelings of inadequacy; for we need to remember WHO it is that we have on our side.

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