As days grow colder, the trees gradually drop the gaudy garlands of leaves masking their true strength and beauty. Even so do we, as adversity’s chilling winds efface the sunshine in our lives, drop our masks, revealing our inner nakedness and humility. Others watching marvel, overwhelmed by our true beauty. As distresses fall, like freezing snow, upon our boughs we become ever more beautiful to the beholding eye. Old dead branches fall away and our inner soul is strengthened.
Ignoring the subtle play on words (metal should read mettle – meaning his strength and resolve) I empathised with this quote, picturing the many “knights” I knew, both male and female. Those whom life had battered, who’d fought against the odds, defended the helpless, refused to give up. So many stories crossed my mind, so many with battered armour. Maybe they were no longer young and fresh, had never been beautiful, or rich, or successful. Maybe they bear the scars of battle even, but they are more than conquerors.
I’m proud to know so many of those people. The single mum who battles for her children, the parents of a disabled child, the survivors of a wreaked relationship, those heavy with grief, those smiling on the outside disguising the pain within, so, so many different stories. The battered armour to me is far more beautiful than the gleaming untried suit.
Life is all a journey as you stumble through the years,
Sometimes through strife and battle and often lonely tears.
Sometimes through days of sunshine, when the soul within you glows
Sometimes in days of certainty, you know the way to go.
Sometimes in bleak confusion, unknowing steps you trace,
But all in all you’ll get there. You too will win the race.
Not one against the other, in striving to compete,
All pushing on and shoving, thrusting others from their feet.
But hand in hand beguiling, each happy golden hour,
The weak and tired enticing to draw upon your power.
Till that gate arriving, when journey meets its end,
You’ll be a man, my brother, a fortress and a friend.
The first thought when hearing “eternal life” tends to be “life after death”, but either believers are right and all live eternally or atheists are correct and there is nothing after death (in which case also nothing to worry about since you will no longer be aware).
Examined logically “eternal life” (as expressed in Biblical texts etc.) denotes something more than survival because it is partaken by some and not others. It seems to be speaking rather of quality of life – living rather than existing. As Braveheart so aptly states, “All men die, but not all men truly live!” There’s a difference between eternal life and eternal survival. Eternal survival in an environment in which you felt trapped, fearful, or alone would be the worst kind of hell!
So what is meant by “eternal life”? John clarifies “This is eternal life, that they may know … the only true God, and Jesus Christ…” We are told Jesus came that we might “have life and have it more abundantly” an enriched life, beginning not at death but the moment we come to truly know him in a personal and intimate way, a life enriched by the power and joy of his spirit, possessed not at death but right now in our present life and that to come.
I came across an old poem
“I know an old house on a hill,
A mountain road, a grove, a rill,
And billowed hilltops stretching far
To sunset and evening star.
I take a path through glade and wood,
Deep drinking of its solitude,
And find a spot o’er reached and still
Where peace and poise the spirit fill.
The Master’s presence there is near,
The Master’s plan again is clear,
And far removed from work or strife
I re-appraise the worth of life.
Yet hill and outlook, glade and wood,
The time, the place, the solitude
Hold not the secret of the prayer
The secret place of anywhere.
It impressed on me the verse “Be still and know that I am God”. In this busy world folks often seem chasing a dream they can’t catch, or running from some intangible fear, how wonderful to be still, and in that stillness find the pervading strength and peace of God.
“The very words of God are tingling with supernatural power to be released by the touch of your faith!”
Take the fight up to a higher level. Things impossible on the physical plane become possible on the spiritual one.
“The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty to the pulling down of strongholds (disease, corruption, fear, hate, greed,) casting down imaginations (doubts, fears, negativity, impossibilities, things we think that impede us) and every high thing that exults itself against the knowledge of God. Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
We’ve been endowed with the most powerful weapons on earth, but they must be grasped and used on the spiritual plain, we access that through the absorption of God’s Word.
Lion or pussycat how do I see myself? Being a Leo this question has always been particularly pertinent to me. Mostly I’m the pussycat but I know there is also a secret lion prowling within should it be needed. My claws are politely sheathed to avoid accidental scratching but I have them as my kids will attest lol!
Listening to an old Mark Batterson audio (Chase the Lion – if you’e a Christian and haven’t read the book I highly recommend it!) the question reappeared.
His point: It all depends on how big you view God. If you view God as bigger than your problems, difficulties, sickness etc. then you become as the lion, strong, brave, etc. If you view Him as smaller, ineffective, irrelevant etc. then you become like a Christian pussycat, affectionate, attractive but with little real power, largely ineffective.
This question is also pertinent to the whole thing happening with Brexit here in the UK. Many folks I talk to are looking in the national mirror and discovering to their surprise that, contrary to what they’ve been fed for years, we are not really a pussycat at all, but a lion. It has come as a great surprise to many (although the very young seem much affected by the big media campaign aimed to get their vote, but even some of them are now waking up – “You mean we used to do all that before the EU?” lol!)
So lion or pussycat, which should we be? For myself I prefer to be the pussycat and walk softly around others, but it’s also important to know we have the lion within should need arise. I know I’m very small and weak but I have an awfully big God!
Sometimes we can take others strength for granted.