You know what I love about the Lord? He likes to turn bad things good. He loves doing a gigantic flip. He loves redemption. It was His idea to create us, to give us the option of obedience or wandering, to become like us so He could redeem us- buy us back, give His life for us, change the first Adam's curse into the second Adam's blessing of eternal life and redemption. This is the kind of stuff that burns my heart, and gives me a caffeine high-- no caffeine necessary. Personally, I think He has a flare for the dramatic. He has the best ideas. I mean, think of all the creative wonderful people in the world, and then think that everybody is made in the image of the Creator. That means He is the most adventurous, most hilarious, most kind, most inventive, most talented person/God/Spirit/thing. Job 26:14 says, "And these are but the outerfringe of His works; how faint the whisper we hear of Him." And Job was a man who its safe to say knew God....but he says all he knew was just the faint whisper of who God was-- and from what I know of God, all I see is goodness, kindness, gentleness, joy. I already think He is immeasurably these things, but I can't imagine what the true God looks like if the outerfringe and faint whisper is already this poignant. Selah, right?
So that's why I have to blog about loving Friday the thirteenth. Seriously, I always kind of get tickled when its a Friday the thirteenth. I heard this morning that this year, 2012, we will have three Friday the 13ths and that they are each 13 weeks apart. Someone was going on about how creepy it is, and how that's got to mean something. I'd like to tell you what that means: we oughta get excited. Want to know what happens when the enemy tries to stir up fear and superstition in things like this? God shows up. And He turns things on their head. Because Satan is already eternally damned. The gig's up. The end is written. God wins.
I was listening to a sermon the other day about how sometimes we adopt our cultural truths as Biblical truths...and we don't even realize that what our world says is valid might be totally against what God says. I think superstition is one of those. No, I know superstition is one of those things. I grew up in a house where we weren't aloud to say "good luck". We weren't allowed to talk about luck. Luck, Mom said, was inconsistent with faith. So we would say, "God bless you" or something like that. I never found a penny, picked it up and all day long I had good luck. On the flip side, I've broken a mirror, walked underneath a few ladders, seen some black cats, and lived through some Friday the 13ths. And I don't live in fear. Because I've been brought into the safezone. Like when you play tag at recess and the one place that leaves you immune to whoever is chasing you, that's what the Lord is for us. He is an umbrella of peace, a covering, a Rock that is set on high, and He enables us to stand on the heights, to run to Him for refuge. No weapon formed against us prospers, and
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty...He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge, His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart...a thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you.If you make the Most High your dwelling--even the LORD, who is my refuge then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone." Psalm 91
I love Ephesians 6, and the armor of God. One reason I may love it is because my little brother used to have a BibleMan costume-- yes, that's right, Bibleman-- complete with all of the armor mentioned in the aforesaid chapter. When my sister Lindsay was home from college, she could get nasty if you woke her up and were yourself defenseless, so we'd send in Josh decked out in his Bibleman gear. Sometimes he came away unscathed. Sometimes. But the point is, in that awesome chapter, we learn what kind of weapons we have, what kind of armor we have, and this particular point is relevant for this post:
"In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one."
I like the guarantee of success here: if you have faith you CAN (the greek verb is dynamai, which means 1) to be able, have power whether by virtue of one's own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through favourable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom; 2) to be able to do something;3) to be capable, strong and powerful) extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. I don't know why but I've always thought flaming arrows are thoughts, especially thoughts of fear. If you let one hit you, it can pretty much consume everything. Fear can be so paralyzing. But faith trumps fear. Faith shields our hearts. And for this year, I have faith that this despite the number of 13s involved, it's God's year. And in Him we live and move and find our being, and we're safe.