A Promise, A Shield, A Focus

I have known Jesus for most of my life. I have grown into his love, and learned to follow hard after him through many mundane, even monotonous moments. But I have also learned to follow hard after him in the sudden chaos of storms that threatened to overwhelm. At times, like Saul (who became Paul) I have “kicked against the goads.” I have railed against the very things God is using to draw me to himself. I have refused the joy and delight of resting in Him.

But, like Paul, I have also had the scales ripped (yes painfully) from my eyes, so that my focus has been radically adjusted.  Paul said it like this, “For me, living is Christ.”  The very act of living was swallowed up in Christ for Paul. Nothing about life made sense without Christ. And nothing about life held any sway over Paul, save Christ.

Today I have a meeting with the administrator of Jaden’s school to discuss Joel’s being allowed to attend Jaden’s 8th grade graduation. I rail against this, yet another reminder of Joel’s “scarlet letter,” and our family’s identity in society. I hate that Joel might miss Jaden’s 8th grade graduation because of his label as a sex offender. And I hate that I have to be the one to “deal with it”–both in meeting with the administrator to make her aware of Joel’s status and also “managing the fall-out” should she refuse Joel permission. I want to skip the whole thing, pretend it doesn’t matter. But it does. This is our life now.

So how is this living swallowed up in Christ? How does our identity in Him make any difference in this reality we face?  Here is the answer God gave me directly from Scripture this morning: “All the Lord’s promises prove true; he is a shield to all who look to Him for protection” (2 Sam. 22:31b–NLT).  The Lord himself is a shield against the identities the world’s system would throw at me, my children, and even Joel. His promises prove true for eternity. And His shield protects me from living out of that place of angst, dread and frustration. His shield protects me from being overwhelmed by the reality I see with my eyes, and find myself instead overwhelmed by the reality of Him that I can only focus on with my heart.

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