Trial and Battle

<blockquote>Hebrews 11:32-38

32And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

33Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.

34Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

35Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

36And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:

37They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

38(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.</blockquote>
Ever since <a href=””>Seth wrote this post</a>, I’ve been contemplating yet another variation of, “What kind of story is God writing with my life?”. Idle curiosity probably, but sometimes it *is* helpful to realize how God deals with you.

I’ve finally realized that despite how much I complain about being so tired of fighting battles and going through trials, I also get bored if my life gets too easy for more than a short period of time. Not something that’s enjoyable to realize when you really are tired. 😛 But it probably partly explains why I don’t have a lot of happy-blue-skies-bopping-through-life days strung together in a row. I would get bored. (Though for the record, I’m good with less painful challenges sometimes, too. Maybe something more on the order of a logic puzzle than an epic battle. Just saying.)

So, when the above section of Hebrews really jumped at out me this morning, I started to wonder if it was connected to this train of thought. It starts out with total epic adventure. I could just see the sun glinting off of the knights’ swords as they won victories in great battles and routed the enemy.

And then just as a tiny little thought in the back of my head started to say, “But it’s not always like that,” the passage slides right into the other half of things. Just as much part of the epic adventure of faith, but the less fun parts. All kinds of extremely painful and hard things, and in the middle of this it says, ‘of whom the world was not worthy’.

I instantly thought, “That’s what I want to be”. Then I blinked at the surrounding descriptions, and asked if it was too late to change my mind, but the gut reaction still stands.

Is it arrogance to want that phrase to describe me? To want to be shiningly beautiful in a dark broken world? To want to better than a world that’s currently absorbed in chewing me up and spitting me out? Yeah, probably arrogant. I usually am.

But it’s interesting that this description resonated with me so much. This description of people simply hanging on through incredibly painful circumstances, which made it into the ‘faith hall of fame’ and earned the phrase ‘of whom the world was not worthy’, made me think ‘I want that’. Maybe because it’s ranked equally with the ‘cool’ parts of winning battles and fighting lions. Maybe because it just sounds more like my life.

The phrase “Yeah, it hurts a lot and I’m utterly failing. So?” could sum up my reaction to a lot of things in life. (Probably including <a href=””>ice skating</a>.) Whether it hurts, and (theoretically, at least) whether I’m succeeding or failing, are not deemed relevant facts in the decision whether to continue or not.

This also fits in neatly with the fact that from a fairly young age I was always attracted to stories of prison camps, always with the fascinating question, “Would I have to been stubborn enough to survive?”. My brief exposure to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs as a young teen upset me quite a bit, probably because I didn’t like the answer I came up with as to whether I could take that sort of punishment.

Uncomfortably enough, I think I may have found one of the themes to my life. Yay?

June 3rd, 2010

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