Day 58: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 58: The Way Of The Warrior

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The Way Of The Warrior

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” (Gen. 15:1).

Abram had great success.  He was a vaunted warrior, he was very wealthy, he was very well-known, yet he was very fearful.  The Lord came to him, after all the hubbub of a victory celebration. Things settled down, then the Lord shows up. He’d waited for quiet.

Fear is self-generated and not from the Lord, so he comes quickly into the breach in Abram’s life.  He’s showing up to help Abram. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”  (Rom. 8:15).  We can have the resource of our ‘Abba,’ our Dad being present with us at a time of utter desolation. I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. (Ps. 40:1).

Abram never uttered a word, yet the Lord responded.  This was a pre-cry, cry, that God already knew was coming. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. (Ps. 139:4).  That’s faster than the speed of light.  The Lord can do that for you as well.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me (Ps. 23:4).

The Lord tells Abram that he’ll provide protection.  He will shield Abram.  One can understand that going through vicious combat, killing hundreds of enemies, leaves an emotional scar.  This was not the stuff of Hollywood.  There were horrid wounds inflicted by him and his men on other men.  This was a gruesome business, that changed people  forever.  Trauma is the intrusion of death into life.

For the uninitiated, there is a brutal reality to the aftermath of combat.  There are 7 distinct wounds from trauma.  The first is physical anguish: the result is anxiety, panic, loss of sleep, etc.  The body speaks to what it experienced.  2. Shame – results from grief, loss or fear.  One often feels unlovable, because they are tainted, believing they deserve to be mistreated.  This often happens to victims of abuse.  3. Faith becomes a victim.  There are questions about God, who he is, and what his purposes are.  Does he see me?  Is he good?  Is he trustworthy?  Is he punishing me?  God is also a victim in this setting since he is viewed as absent or uncaring.  4. ‘Hyper-vigilance’ or extreme alert.  “Am I safe?” Victims become hyper-sensitive to harm, often misreading intentions of others. They become defensive, and often take a ‘victim’ mentality.  5.  Intrusions.  Intrusive thoughts or flashbacks that invoke or stimulate memories.  These can be varied or even constant. 6.  Avoidance.  This is the attempt to disassociate, because groups or gatherings are unsettling, and there can be desperation in a setting that is uncontrollable. 7.  Overwhelming emotions.  Extremes of fear or anxieties, even fatigue or illness.

Abram is experiencing fear.  He did not have this when he was told to go to Canaan (Gen 12:1) thrown out of Egypt (12:19, 20), nor when he and Lot were having tensions and quarrels (13:7).  The stress of leading a small contingent of warriors, chasing an enemy 125 miles, worrying about POW’s, then engaging in deadly fighting takes an enormous toll on Abram.  The aftermath of all these conditions causes emotional disruption.

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram… (Gen. 15:1).  This is stunning! God makes himself little, making it feel safe for Abram to engage with him.  He’s the Creator of the entire Universe, which is billions of light years in size.  Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, (Isa. 40:12). To the Lord, the Universe is about 9 inches in our measurements – that’s a ‘span!’

Jesus in his earthly ministry made himself small.  He made small gestures, small words, allowing people choices.  He came close to the hurting, he touched the sick, came near to the broken.  And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matt. 9:35, 36).

The Lord has made himself small for you.  He’s not big and scary.  He’s safe.  We humans just do not believe this.  How can One so good and majestic love me?

Jesus identified four fears that we all experience.  First: “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body (Lk. 12:4).  Jesus notes that we have a fear for our personal safety. Second: do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, (Lk. 12:11).  This is a fear about ridicule and rejection from others. Third: do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. (Lk. 12:22). This is a fear about the cares and necessities of life, not being available.  Fourth: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Lk. 12:32).  This fear is   believing that our Heavenly Father is not good.  However, he is generous and kind, but for some reason many do not believe it.

Which of these four fears is plaguing Abram?  God has promised him extravagant blessings, (Gen 12:1–3).  He saw the Promised Land (13:15-17), but he does not have those children (13:16).  He’s getting fearful.  He had some near-death combat, and he knows he’s fortunate to be alive, but he’s also 75 years old! (12:4).  He’s afraid God is going to mess-up on the offspring promise.  Why do I say that?

But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless (Gen. 15:2).  Bingo!  Abram’s afraid the Lord will forget about the kids! Listen, we all have this issue with the Lord.  We have expectations, hoping that he’s not going to forget!  Or we think we misunderstood his promise.  We thought he was going to do X, and only Y has happened.  We waffle and give up…that’s Abram’s problem.  He’s bobbing on the sea of uncertainty.

The LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” (Gen. 15:1).  The majestic Creator shows up small, assuring Abram that he’s reliable, and he will bring a huge reward.

How about you?  He’s got great promises for you and your future.  Are you settled about this?  Do you trust this majestic Lord, to meet you with grace?

By Nathan Werner

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

I know what Abram felt like, not being sure that your remembering me.  Circumstances make my life seem chaotic and wearisome while I think I should be on a placid lake, without ripples.  The chasms and grinding of life are like sandpaper to my soul. I respond to life, rather than trusting in you.  Please take over this turmoil, give me a hint of your presence and a sense of your care for me.  Please be my shield.  I feel like I’m languishing though my knowledge of you is a reality.

Then launch me.  Help me to soar.  Help me to transcend the issues of life that deflate me.  I’m yearning for spiritual excellence, for a meaningful living, and a hope-filled future. Don’t let me languish from the problems I face, rather give me victory over conditions that feel overwhelming.  Then let this victory-living be a witness to a world that can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Let others experience hope, because they see me trusting you. Let your reputation grow in the observers of my life.  I pray this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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