When I served in the Army, we used to be tested regularly on our physical fitness/wellbeing, and part of the test was to be able to complete two miles within a predetermined frame of time.
The track/route wasn’t always the same, and the weather wasn’t always perfect, but we still had to be able to finish under our given time or fail. There were two rules that would nullify our run time, one of which was that our feet could never leave the path we were given. “Don’t touch the grass.” If your feet left the track, it was taken as a signal that you had given up and would not be finishing. They didn’t have compassion if a runner became ill and needed to vomit either. That runner had better brace themselves and lean over the track to puke on the grass, but their feet better never cross that boundary.
Within Christianity, we are raised from little children to understand that we are part of an army that is entrenched in a war against evil, but when it comes time for rubber to meet the road, most of us are comfortable only wearing the armor of God but never actually putting it to use. The Lord isn’t looking for us to be knights in shining armor. It has been said that a knight whose armor is shining is one who has never fought in a battle. God has called us to war, and war is bloody. And war is beyond frightening to even the bravest of souls. Here’s what we fail to truly understand: we never fight alone. We hear it over and over without ever really getting it into every fiber of our being. If we did, we’d never lay down our sword.
The other day my twelve year old daughter was wrestling with her seventeen year old brother. He is obviously bigger and stronger than her and can easily outlast her body in endurance. Did she let that stop her? Absolutely not. He wanted her to confess something, and she would not give in at all. She cried out for relief over and over, and he kept repeating that all she had to do was give in, submit to what he wanted of her. It didn’t matter to her that she was experiencing some pain and was seemingly never going to break free, but she refused to give in to what her enemy wanted.
Why? Because she knew her enemy could only go so far. She knew that even though he was bigger and stronger on all counts and that she couldn’t break free from him on her own that he had a boundary he couldn’t cross. See, beyond the power of her enemy, there is her Father who would rip her brother in half if he were to actually hurt his little girl. She knew she could hold on and endure, because if the battle went farther than what she really truly could endure that her Father would step in and put a halt to it immediately. While she didn’t “whoop” her brother that day, she definitely beat him.
So many I know are being put to the test, and I would say to you, “Toe the line!” Finish this race. It may seem like relief will never come, but your Father has His eyes on you. The enemy cannot cross where He has not been given permission. Stand fast. Ephesians tells us that after we have put on our armor to stand. STAND. If you cannot do anything else in this fight, just stand, and don’t you dare let your feet leave the path. “You were born for such a time as this.”