Sunday, August 17, 2008

In the presence of my enemies

Another recycled note from a few months ago:
So far, the best solution I have found for pregnancy insomnia is to meditate on Scripture and pray. After all, it put even the disciples to sleep, right? Last night, after waking up for the fourth or fifth time, I was mentally reciting Psalm 23 when I got to the verse that says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…”. It reminded me of a time when God used that verse to really encourage me.

I had this picture of a war scene—heat, ear-shattering explosions, the stench of smoke and decay, bullets flying everywhere and soldiers so bone-achingly weary that terror had been dulled and replaced by a glazed, grim determination to keep going till it was somehow over.

Photo by OiMax on Flickr
In the middle of this battle, God suddenly appears and starts setting this elegant table. There is an immaculate white tablecloth, beautiful china, sparkling crystal and shining silverware. Mouth-watering, luscious foods are displayed (many of them featuring chocolate). And with the bullets whizzing past my head, God smilingly invites me to sit down.

The incongruity makes it all seem so ridiculous. I feel bewildered and almost angry. “Um, Lord? This is great, but we’re in the middle of a war here. I don’t have time for this. After it’s over, we’ll celebrate the victory, but I’m fighting right now.” He replies simply, “But you need this now.”

Photo by Aidan.Morgan on Flickr
I’m anointed with fragrant oil that drives away the stink of war and soothes and heals the dry, chapped places on my skin. Instead of a mere cup that is over-flowing, for some reason I picture an elaborate fountain full of cool water. And suddenly over the booming noise of battle, I hear myself giggling and splashing in the fountain just like my children would. All the grime and muck is rinsed away, and God and I are playing and laughing together.

The funny thing is, throughout all this, my enemies have never stopped. The battle is still raging around me, but the enemy is just wasting ammo.

I know that some of you are in a long-term fight, and that it can be overwhelming. Please know that I am praying for you, that you will be able to lie down in green meadows, rest beside still waters and have your souls restored, that you can be nourished and refreshed even in the presence of your enemies.