““I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times.
But that is not for them to decide.
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
JRR Tolkien, Fellowship of the Ring
Our illusions of control have been shattered by events triggered by a few people’s actions in a wildlife market in China, compounded multiple times over. Now the whole world lies in the grip of darkness and fear. We wish this time would not have come to us, but it has. All we can now do is choose “what to do with the time given to us.”
As events have spiraled downward in the last week, I’ve felt the frustration at what is happening and the way our government is or is not responding. I’ve felt fear in the uncertainty of what may come. As I recognize it, I pause and seek to bring it to the surface – to rationally face it and own it. I then see the battle more clearly. I remember Four Eternal Realities that frame what I choose what to do with the time given to me.
If you have experienced the Battle for the Heart for Men or Women, you know these Realities well. If you have not, they resonate because they speak to the deepest desires of your heart. So let’s pause and remember.
Zooming out, The Larger Story:
God created me to become the Beloved, overflowing with his love. At age 67 I increasingly see that as all else fades, falls away or is taken away, his love is enough.
God created me to Engage – to move into the fear and uncertainty with strength and love offering life and growth to those around me.
Yes, this is who I am, but in the face of fear I can only play my part as I surrender my whole heart to the love of the Fellowship, as I choose to embrace God’s purposes in the suffering, as I let go of what has to die to receive the new life God is bringing forth now and in eternity.
Evil is hunting:
Fear comes to disrupt intimacy with the Fellowship – to cut me off from the energy of love to drive me to withdraw or dominate instead of engage. But then I remember that the Eternal God of Love is pursuing me for he “will not leave me as an orphan, but he will come for me.” (John 14:18)
Looking up, there is a Fellowship:
As I awakened early this morning and could not go back to sleep I got up and walked in the dark facing the fear and uncertainty. As I did I remembered the God moments of my life when God undeniably revealed his love and presence, when he promised me he would provide financially, when he called us to leap off a cliff and trust him to start this ministry. I remembered the familiar passages of scripture that have guided me through dark times of national, personal and relational crises – Psalm 16, Psalm 46, Habbakuk 3:17-19, and II Cor 4. I remembered the “‘great cloud of witnesses” who have gone before me. Then I got on a call with two friends who have walked with me into the “valley of the shadow of death.” I experienced fear being cast out as I experienced love, care and courage to engage my domain with strength and love, to play my part in the Story to the glory of God, the blessing of those around me and for the joy set before me.
Further Reflection Or Discussion With A Friend:
- As you reflect on this letter what most strikes you?
- How is evil hunting you in this time that has come upon you, your family and your work?
a. How have you been affected by fear, uncertainty and loss of control?
b. Think through this at all four levels of your heart –
c. Be aware of areas of loss you may need to grieve and receive comfort in before you can effectively move forward.
- How might God be inviting you to more fully step into your part in the Story
a. As a man who engages with strength and love offering life and growth to your domain
b. As a woman who engages with courage beauty and love inviting your domain into life and rest
- Who are the people in your domain – your sphere of influence that God wants to love and encourage through you?