It’s 1:30 AM and the sound of advancing enemy fire has awakened me. After many retreats and battles lost in this ongoing war, I have learned the enemy’s tactics well. This time, there will be no retreat. This time, the victory is mine. I have suffered too many wounds, too many losses. No more. This time, this night, I march on and I will not surrender.
I lay in bed with anxiety threatening, beating the door of my mind. The foot is tempted to shake and the voice is tempted to sigh. Our family took some hits today. The second denial for Social Security disability arrived after months of meetings and paperwork compiled. Bureaucrats in far-off places who know our twenty-one year old daughter only as a number stamped on a paper pile determined she does not qualify. They don’t know her. They don’t realize she can’t live independently and that when my husband and I are dead and gone she will still need people to take care of her finances, her transportation, her medical needs, her shopping. I look at her tiny frame and into her innocent, doe-like eyes and am tempted to crumble, anxiety chipping away. But I will not.
Then, our nineteen year old son who got through high school with a 504 Plan of massive micromanagement due to inability to orchestrate his own life despite average intelligence has been telling us he’s doing great in his two tech school classes. He has been telling the special needs coordinator the same. We logged onto the college site and discovered, many weeks into the term, grades finally posted. He’s failing one of his two classes for not turning in assignments. Here we go again. Same as high school. Sometimes he forgets to do the assignments. Most of the time he just forgets to turn them in. He forgets to use his planner. He forgets to use the compensatory tools we have taught him over and over and over for years and years and years. And he’s shocked when he sees his grade. He REALLY thought he had a B in the class. He feels horrible. I am tempted to choke with tears and fears of what-if. But I will not.
I spend my days at my full-time job—homeschooling our fourteen year old son and driving him three mornings a week to a reading specialist for dyslexia. After massive intervention for years, he now reads at the third grade level. In school, he qualifies for special education in four other categories besides reading. Despite his huge learning difficulties, he tries exceedingly hard. Memory impairment makes learning extraordinarily slow due to needs for constant repetition and re-teaching. Today was hard—so hard. I am tempted to give up and let the school take him back and mainstream him even though he will be labeled and learn virtually nothing and walk across the stage four years from now with a diploma just like everyone else. I am tempted to quit because I can’t see the point of all this education. And anxiety about his future is firing at me in the dark, camouflaged in forests through which I must march as his mother with him hobbling beside me and helping him forge ahead through rugged and foreign terrain. I am tempted to surrender. But I will not.
During The Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt stated his conviction in his first inaugural address, March 4, 1933:
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
Convert retreat into advance. Yes!
But how does one deal with fear when it surrounds and fires from all directions?
I need a battle plan. I need armor. I need weapons. Most of all, I need a General with a track record of victory against such a formidable foe.
There are Four Necessities. Four War Components, available to all:
1. An undefeated General.
2. A winning battle plan.
THIS IS WAR! I will fight and never surrender. I will not be taken down. I can and will stand firm because, regardless of how this war looks in this particular battle of the day, on this particular front—the outcome is sure. Our side wins. I only have to do my job as directed by my General. One day at a time—one battle at a time.
The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? When evil advances against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. (Psalm 27:1-3)
Our greatest enemy is fear. It CAN be subdued. Retreat CAN be converted into advance.
God has the winning battle plan. It is written in his Word. In fact, His Word provides His battle plan, His armor, and His weaponry—all in the same place, available to all who enlist. When I suit up and pray for reinforcements, Ephesians 6:10-18comes to my aid. I fill my mind with His provisions and fulfill my marching orders:
Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
Mission accomplished. Feeling stronger. But fear is such a tough adversary and the attacks begin again. I call for help. “Send more supplies to the front! New rounds coming in!” I pray.
Shipment arrives quickly. More truth, more marching orders—and a promise.
The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Mission accomplished. Enemy is quelled—for now. But now is all that matters. Now I can rest. Now I can sleep. And as I begin to drift off in this now silent night, I hear a sweet voice reminding me of who is in charge as He lulls me, comforts me.
Remember, Heather, the war is already won and you are with Me, the Victorious One.