Photo by Richard R. Schünemann from Unsplash
How is your day going?
If you are like most people, I know many of your days seem to be colliding with your goals and plans from the moment you awaken. There are “incoming” assaults from every direction and often from those you may not expect. That word “incoming” came to mind as I was reflecting on this.
Any military person or one who reads of military campaigns knows the meaning of the word “incoming”. It is shouted when a soldier hears the sound of an incoming round or rounds against their position from the enemy on the battlefield. It’s a warning that an attack is imminent and taking appropriate action is necessary. It can strike fear into the hearts of those the shells are targeting and without good training, they can become immobilized.
But you may think that you are not a soldier perhaps or not a battlefield and yet that is what too many days can feel like. Before you have had your first cup of coffee, things start flooding at you from source after source. You know what I mean. You absently check your phone and find messages and emails requiring your attention, news that alarms you, and voicemails requiring your response. There are members of your household needing or wanting something or the phone rings or the pet you usually adore becomes a rascal.
All of these serve to distract you from entering your day calmly and with time to quietly spend time with your coffee, the Lord, a Bible, and a journal. These are “incoming” assaults and for many of us, they seem to be coming faster and more frequently than ever. Our best efforts cannot seem to rein them in.
Sometimes we miss how we happen to find ourselves in the midst of these as just “an ordinary person.” We also miss how we opened ourselves to some of the onslaught. We got caught up in the pursuit of information (knowledge) when the technology suddenly put it all at our fingertips. The sources kept growing, more organizations and businesses asked for our email addresses, texting became the norm as did social media platforms like Face Book, Instagram, and Twitter, to name just a few of dozens.
Before we knew it our inboxes were filled up with hundreds of emails before we even got up in the morning and despite our best efforts to unsubscribe so we could see the emails we really wanted, most of them continued anyway. So were the temptations to look at social media posts for more than the time we took to eat breakfast or sip our coffee.
Could it be that we had succumbed to a love of knowledge in this “Information Age” and the apple we bit had impacted us in ways we could not have guessed?
As I was reading in Kings and Chronicles in the Old Testament, it seems life has not changed so much as the devices to pull even the best of us off course are many indeed. We would do well to consider what Solomon asked of God – wisdom! He sought wisdom above all else and was granted that and more. He, too, fell prey to the distractions around him and got off the path God had for him.
The increase of “incoming” rounds tells an experienced soldier that the battle is intensifying and becoming more violent. That may cause us to wonder if we are about to lose but it would be good to consider a different perspective. Sometimes it is about the enemy fearing that he is about to lose because he sees good things happening that make him feel less confident. That results in desperate measures, tactics, and munitions. If you read or study any of the great wars that have been fought in the world, you see example after example of that.
Many of our knowledge sources now give us largely bleak information and there is a great deal of it that western cultures are flummoxed by after decades of seeming peace. The reports are often true as well as used to distract and create fear in the hearts of us all. There can be a sense of foreboding in the hearts of some.
Our reaction to all these “incoming” rounds needs to be to look beyond the big-name sources we were used to turning to and seek solid footing again. We hear of churches splitting and believers in the Gospel slipping away and hearts turning cold and miss the reasons for that as the battle intensifies and we see more signs of the end of this age that Matthew writes about in his Gospel. We also miss how many people in remote places of the world unknown to us are coming to faith despite risks of persecution and death. Such things should encourage our hearts and embolden our faith to see what we have opportunities to be and do. To anticipate what we who believe have been promised.
If you believe and have faith, what does that look like as God seeks to reach the whole world with the truth in these final days? Think of all those chances we miss each day. If we are harried by all these “incoming” rounds, we fail to thank the person serving us at the deli counter in our grocery store, neglect opening the door for someone with a small child, a cane, or a walker, never pause to greet a neighbor, rarely consider asking someone who is not a close friend or family member how we can pray for them, and more. All these give witness to our hope and the source of it.
The pandemic we all experienced has ended but the resilience we lost during that time takes a long time to replace. We came out of it eager for recreation, travel, filling our days with things we couldn’t do before and less aware of the “incoming” assaults camouflaged in these fun things that also took us away from still needing to quiet our hearts and minds and settling our spirits. John Eldredge’s great book, Resilience, gave us a reminder of that and a pathway to rebuild. Did we? The world we live in fatigues us on a regular basis without a pandemic and we are vulnerable.
We need to take time to remember God is with us and restore our union with Him daily, so the “incoming” rounds do not upend us. We cannot dabble with Him and be available to Him for that to happen.
God wants what is best for us and it is we who often miss it.
“Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does not want the best; God finds it hard to give, because He would give the best, and man will not take it.”George MacDonald
Photo by Oleksandr Canary Islands from Pexels