When you prepare for battle, the priest must come forward to speak to the troops. He will say to them, ‘Listen to me, all you men of Israel! Do not be afraid as you go out to fight your enemies today! Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them. For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!’ (Deuteronomy 20:2-4)
(37/365 days of Fear Not)
I have several favorite Christian singers that I enjoy because they are storytellers. One of them is Andrew Peterson, whose music is often clever, mesmerizing, haunting and, for lack of a better term, authentic. His lyrics are piercing arrows of truth to the heart and the soul.
I return often to a line from the chorus of one of his early songs (released in 1995), Faith to Be Strong:
Give us faith to be strong
Give us strength to be faithful
This life is not long, but it’s hard
Give us grace to go on
Make us willing and able
Lord, give us faith to be strong
Did you catch that?
Did you hear the warning bells and sense the tension of that highlighted line: This life is not long, but it’s hard.
There is such truth and holy tension in those words. It echoes scripture’s warning that our lives are but a wisp of smoke that disappears and it’s a reminder of the fall that ushered in sin. We don’t have very many days here and the ones we do have? Well, they’re going to require a whole lot more than we may be able to give.
Sometimes, that’s a truth I prefer to skim over. I like to believe I have all the time I need to pursue the God-given dream, the God-given purpose for my life, but the truth is, my days are barely a passing shadow in the light of eternity.
So, I don’t have time to be afraid.
I don’t have time to cower in the What ifs of living out my passion and my purpose.
I don’t have time to wait or to overthink or to hide from what God has called me and gifted me to do for His glory.
Because if I wait too long, I will have done much too little; I will not have a crown to lay at His feet. Instead, I will have excuses and justifications for having buried the gifts He gave me in the ground.
And that’s why Andrew Peterson’s lyrics are like a prayerful psalm to me. We are invited by Peterson to come before God and ask for faith and strength and grace.
It’s what God longs to hear from us: help me, God, for I cannot do this on my own.
Of course, He already knows that.
He knew that before time began and before we existed.
It’s why His words are written for us and to us. So that we may be strengthened and edified and reminded.
Reminded that He goes with us when we head out to do what He has called us to do.
Reminded that He will fight for us against the enemy, His enemy, as well as our enemies – the naysayers and the doubters and the Resistance.
Reminded that He will give us victory.
When we whisper the prayers of the faithful. When we seek His face and His strength. When we ask for His grace to go on.
He will answer us.
He will give us victory and we will bring Him glory.
But that doesn’t mean that any of it will be easy. Only that He will be with us no matter what.