I feel as if I’m in a battle with life lately. I’ve been winning. It’s as if I have somehow realized all of my opponent’s best tricks, my coach has handed me the exact right weapon to overcome each tactic, and I have been invincible – for a while. But instead of accepting defeat, this world has decided to up its game.
It’s like in a video game, when you’re feeling awesome because you defeated a level, only to find out the next level is much harder. The opponent is much smarter, faster, and more devious than what you are used to fighting.
I’d like to conjure up some really fierce video game analogy right now, but alas, I was given a gentle heart. So the video game of my life will always be Super Mario Brothers. Now there are hundreds of games that have featured Mario. But the best by far is the original Super Mario Brothers for the original Nintendo Entertainment System – back when the controller had three basic functions…directions, run, and jump.
I have this game memorized.
Turtle shell coming at me? Big deal. I know exactly when to jump over it. I even know how to manipulate those basic buttons to pick up the shell and hurl it at a goomba.
I don’t just jump…I know how to jump and slide AT THE SAME TIME. (This used to be cool, I promise.)
I can get help along the way, too. Fireballs are my favorite. I can just stand back and let the fire roll out of my hand, knocking the enemies out of my way.
There are castles along the route to saving the princess. Each one is a little harder, with a stronger dragon to defeat, but I have my arsenal of fireballs and special jumps! No need to fear. I can get myself all the way to the end castle, but this one is really tough. I mean, there is a lot of lava, and Bowser (the main enemy) is just HUGE.
My brother and I spent many frustrating hours trying to defeat that dragon, until we figured out you could just run right under him to get to the princess. Piece of cake.
But it doesn’t stop there, does it? Just when you think you’re awesome, the world ups its game. The game goes on, but now every level has lava in it. There are new games, with tougher enemies to defeat. I am totally intimidated by what it would take to learn today’s controllers. My kids are trying to teach me, but I’m failing miserably! The newest controllers have so many buttons and combinations of options that I’m pretty sure they are capable of space travel.
I could shut the whole thing off and retreat to my bubble.
I could go back to the beginning, where it’s easy and I know exactly what to do because I’ve done it a thousand times.
But those choices won’t get me past the enemy. Those choices leave me trapped. And being trapped is not an option for someone who has tasted real freedom.
Life has thrown two very big turtle shells at my family in the past few weeks. They’re not cute and gentle, either. They are spinning, and on fire, and shooting bullets in every direction, and coming full speed. If they hit us, it won’t be as easy as putting in a password to start right where we left off. And I know all too well the enemy who threw them at us.
This world is expecting me to shut down. To tremble in fear. To retreat to my bubble and be quiet about it. To go back to the beginning, where I belong.
But an interesting thing has happened since I have fully let Christ into my gentle heart. The enemy may be throwing harder obstacles my way, but my eyes are wide open now, and I’m ready for battle. I feel stronger than I ever have before, because I don’t fight my battles alone. I’m not intimidated by the controller; He’s shown me exactly how to use it. He’s also shown me something more important – how to hand it over to Him.
In the musical that is my life, I am titanium. (Thank you, David Guetta.)
I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
You shoot me down, but I won’t fall
I am titanium
So there is no reason to shut down, or to tremble in fear, or to hide in my bubble. And there is NO WAY that I am going back to the beginning. The world may knock the wind out of me; it may knock me to my knees. But that’s just fine. Because once I hit my knees, that’s when the Lord takes over. That’s when I get to watch Him defeat the enemy.
“The only way that we can stand is on our knees with lifted hands.” ~Casting Crowns, Courageous
As a Christian, I don’t expect to be immune from life’s struggles. But with Christ, the struggles don’t crush me anymore. No matter what the outcome of my battles, I feel safe and secure. Even what used to feel like losing has been reduced to simply another bump in the road, a reason to turn in a new direction. Not because I don’t realize the gravity of the situation, but because I do realize the power of the One who is fighting for me.
So bring on the flaming, spinning turtle shells. Bring on whatever you think you’ve got, world. I’ll never fall farther than my knees again. I’ll use every fireball and special jump I’ve got, and then I’ll hand over the controller. And then you’ll be the one trembling in fear. You’ll be the one retreating to your bubble. You’ll be the one back at the beginning, cowering where you belong.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:38-39
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. ~Romans 16:20
These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful. ~Revelation 17:14