“Stand fast. You must now have more courage than at any time since you first encountered your orb, but fear not. You have not left the Mount of Mercy and you will not leave it, despite what your senses tell you.” ~ Doors of Destiny
My love for soccer began haphazardly, as a teenager. On a whim, my friend and I decided we would try out for the all-guys soccer team at our school. No, we didn’t have some authority-challenging feminist complex, we just attended a school that was so small there wasn’t a girls’ team. Somewhere along the way my friend didn’t make it to tryouts, and I ended up the only female on the team.
Honestly, I wasn’t very good, I’m not a runner. I mostly sat on the bench and fetched soccer balls and wore a jersey much too big for me. I loved it, even though I didn’t get to play during a game unless we were either losing terribly or winning greatly.
I remember one such game. Put in on defense, I watched the fancy-footed forward coming toward me. I also wasn’t very skilled at dribbling, but one thing I could do was stand my ground and challenge the offense. I wasn’t about to give this guy all day to set his shot up, so I met him and placed my foot firmly on the ball. I really don’t know what happened next. A crash of some kind, and the ball squirted away. The spectators were on their feet and going crazy (even those of the opposing team) and the referee was giving me a free kick. I must have looked as confused as I felt because my teammates had to remind me to kick the ball. It wasn’t my most powerful kick, but at least the ball was headed back toward their goal, not mine.
All I really did successfully was stand my ground, yet somehow it was powerful. The same can be said in our spiritual lives. As Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost For His Highest, “The Christian life is gloriously difficult but the difficulty of it does not make us cave in. It rouses us to overcome.”[i]
I remember going through a difficult time, feeling overwhelmed and depressed. I was burning out, trying to keep up with all the perceived demands of life. I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “I hate you.” Whoa. I knew where that kind of talk had come from. The enemy of my soul had been stealthily yanking me around. I stopped being his puppet right then. Now, if I could just remember in the ordinary moments of life to “keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
Somewhere along the line, whether it be our culture or our generation, we have learned to think that opposition is just a sign from God that the door is closed. We have learned to label the difficult things of life as bad, and have become so easily deterred. Sometimes God tells us to stand when we feel weak, stand when the wind is raging, stand when we feel we should run for cover. “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).
We must rediscover this thing called perseverance; to trust in the God who sees every difficulty we face, Who never leaves or forsakes us, and who always stands with us. We must learn again to confront the world, the flesh, and the devil in His strength and above all, to stand!
[i] Oswald Chambers, “All Noble Things are Difficult,” My Utmost For His Highest, 7 July 2014. Web. utmost.org.