How Do We Bear Up Under All This?

Here’s the thing.

In movies, it’s exciting when the wise guide or sage tells the young Jedi or Hobbit or girl from Kansas that they already have everything they need.

Frustrating for the character, yes. But it makes for a great movie! We watch in anticipation of the moment when the star finally accesses the treasure he or she holds within.

We knew all along that George Bailey was the richest man in town, that Neo would choose the red pill, and that Dorothy would get back home to Kansas. We also knew why they had to go through some struggles to realize it themselves

We have a harder time believing Peter when he assures us that we have “everything we need for life and godliness” or when Paul tells us we have “every spiritual blessing.” Paul even describes the armor God’s provided and weapons that are not of this world for the battle against the forces of darkness. And they lived lives that provided us with fleshed out understanding of the biblical truths they taught.

But we don’t want to live the struggle. Transformation is great to see on the big screen, but it loses it’s appeal when we’re facedown in our own lives.

I realize, the first examples are fiction, while you and I are living in real time where blood and heartbreak don’t fade into the final credits.

But why do you think the human heart devises and rises to these stories?

It’s because God has hard-wired us with everything we need for life and godliness – including the stories to inspire us to believe that because of Jesus, we, too, can know we’ll make it safely home.

And there’s a reason it’s a more satisfying story when Obi Wan and Yoda don’t just wriggle their noses and make Luke proficient with his light saber. It’s because we’re made in God’s image and so we rise to a challenge, we grow in the process, we find joy in the journey.

Even on the climb into Mordor.

We are feeling the pressures of our times. Division in our nation, our communities, our congregations, and even our homes. Thoughtless, unkind rhetoric. Terrorism on the horizon again. Racism still unresolved. Unprecedented weather events. Lingering pandemic. Financial and emotional bankruptcy.

How do we bear up under this? Those of us who know Jesus – how do we not only bear up but also represent as citizens of the kingdom come?

By accessing our equipping.

It’s one thing to be issued armor and effective weapons.

It’s one thing to be gifted with all we need for life and godliness.

It’s one thing to be granted every spiritual blessing.

It’s another thing to scrape our knees and dirty our hands trying it out.

It’s another thing to swallow the pride it takes to attempt and fail and try again.

It’s another thing to be clumsy in front of other Christians and unbelievers as we learn to love, to pray, to tell the truth, to serve, to sacrifice, and to obey.

It’s another thing to hold onto in the dark what we say we believe in the light.

Peter, Paul and James, Mary, Lydia, and Mary as well as all those who went before them have lessons to teach us and words to guide us that are relevant to those of us stumbling through our times.

They have seen His light in the darkest of catacombs, beneath the boots of soldiers and the shadows of crosses. They have laced up their armor while mourning those they love, while fleeing the enemy, and while removing daggers pressed in close by those they’d trusted. Listen to what the Holy Spirit whispers through their lives.

We need to pray.

Not just grace before meals or help me find a parking space or heal my disease but how to intercede in faith, how to shift the course of storms and nations, and how to put ourselves last and lay down our lives for those who would take ours.

We need to obey.

Not just what makes sense or what others see but also what promises to make us look like fools or cost us more than we’d ever imagined offering. Forget the parts we don’t yet understand – if we just start obeying what’s crystal clear, our lives will tell a greater story.

We need to immerse ourselves in His Word.

It’s all there. The everything. The blessings. The equipping. The accessing. The hidden treasure. The pearl of great price. The buried seed. The resurrection. And the life. Him. Jesus. In whom all things hold together.

That’s how we bear up. Jesus.

Like every great character in every great story, the next task before us promises little glory. There is no shortcut around the poppy fields or the past the sirens or through the mountains.

There is just the next step. Just the humble service. Just the solitary night of prayer. Just the generous gift that costs us all but doesn’t bear our name.

Now. Now is the time to understand He has called us into the greatest story of our times, but we must invest our very souls and every ounce of self we’ve held back until now.

You hear His voice even now, don’t you? Answer. You have everything you need because of Him. Pour it out now.

Leave it all on this field because we won’t need it where we’re going. It’s the manna of the hour.

It’s to spend now.


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10 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Rob McCullough says:

    Amen Lori, Excellent!!! Time to start being Christians instead of just acting the part. The Lord has also been showing how much in the scriptures and in what He’s speaking to us and showing us He’s demonstrating His Love and helping us step into and become Love ourselves. That’s His goal with man – for us to become Love as He IS Love. He brings it about in us as we ourselves choose to Love.

  2. Marge says:

    Amen, Lori! You hit the nail right on the head! God bless you!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I really needed this. Thank you.

  4. Mark says:

    Thank you, Lori.

    Your words were what I needed to read today.

    As I read your words, the chords of a song I used to love started playing in the back of my mind.

    “I’ve heard this encouragement sung before,” I thought, “I needed it then like I still need it now . . . maybe even more now . . . now that I’m older, more broken down, more beaten up, more in need . . . in need of Him . . . and His Saints . . .”

    Lord I have a heavy burden of all I’ve seen and know
    It’s more than I can handle
    But your word is burning like a fire shut up in my bones
    And I cannot let it go
    And when I’m weary and overwrought
    With so many battles left unfought
    I think of Paul and Silas in the prison yard
    I hear their song of freedom rising to the stars
    And when the Saints go marching in
    I want to be one of them
    Lord it’s all that I can’t carry and cannot leave behind
    It often overwhelms me
    But when I think of all who’ve gone before and lived the faithful life
    Their courage compels me
    And when I’m weary and overwrought
    With so many battles left unfought
    I think of Paul and Silas in the prison yard
    I hear their song of freedom rising to the stars
    I see the shepherd Moses in the Pharaohs court
    I hear his call for freedom for the people of the Lord
    And when the Saints go marching in
    I want to be one of them
    And when the Saints go marching in
    I want to be one of them
    I see the long quiet walk along the Underground Railroad
    I see the slave awakening to the value of her soul
    I see the young missionary and the angry spear
    I see his family returning with no trace of fear
    I see the long hard shadows of Calcutta nights
    I see the sisters standing by the dying man’s side
    I see the young girl huddled on the brothel floor
    I see the man with a passion come and kicking down the door
    I see the man of sorrows and his long troubled road
    I see the world on his shoulders and my easy load
    And when the Saints go marching in
    I want to be one of them
    And when the Saints go marching in
    I want to be one of them
    I want to be one of them
    I want to be one of them
    I want to be one of them

    “YES, Lord . . . I want to be one of THEM!”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOe-DMkEE3I

  5. Pam Halter says:

    yes – amen! Thank you, Lori!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I LOVED your analogy between the movie world, and the world we are in today.I kicked out my TV years ago, so I am not familiar with the characters that you mentioned, BUT, I AM with the Biblical ones, and will seek to more diligently heed your wise advice to “Trust and OBEY”…no matter what!!!!!!😊🤗😍

  7. Bruce Cunningham says:

    Right on!

  8. Sherry Carter says:

    I’m old enough to have seen division in our country before – the Vietnam war, for instance, but I haven’t seen the painful ripping apart we’re experiencing today. We choose to focus on what divides us rather than what unites us. In Jesus, we can not only bear it, but also be a light of love and respect for others.

    On a side note, when I read “Peter, Paul…” my mind immediately to the group Peter, Paul and Mary. I’ll be humming “Puff the Magic Dragon..” the rest of the day.

  9. Kirsten Panachyda says:

    Thank you for this good word. I needed this today.

  10. Luann Pollizzotto says:

    Truth. Thanks.