"Now we must fight". Fighting words for a morning devotional speaker at a worship conference. But there she was, obedient and petite, small but mighty, giving forth the word the Lord gave her in much prayer before she came up from the U.S. to bless the many hundreds of worship leaders who gathered in Cambridge this past weekend for the Unite in Worship conference. Tricia Rhodes, recent author of Sacred Chaos, had a word for all who are being beleaguered by the three D's: Discouragement, Defeat, and Despair.
Using I Samuel 17, the David and Goliath story, as her basis, Tricia powerfully spoke into the tired hearts of many who are struggling to maintain vision and remain hopeful in the midst of too many difficulties. Tricia sees the three D's as an onslaught on the western church, a systematic undermining of Christians of all levels. Sharing from her own journey, she described her loss of dreams, her setting aside of the many promises and prophetic words that had been spoken over her life, and her deep pain over her son's abandonment of his childhood faith.
Tricia urged us to respond to the three D's by fighting, as David fought Goliath. We are not to be intimidated by the size of the enemy, his taunts or his weapons.
She gave three reasons to fight:
first, because God's worth demands it,
secondly because our need requires it,
and thirdly because our destiny dictates it.
The honour of God's name is at stake. We must fight, even if we don't win, in order to honour God. If we don't fight we will be defeated before we know it. We must fight because if we don't we will not obtain what we need to do what we are called to do. And our destiny demands our fight because that is what will take us on to the new level of effectiveness and intimacy that is His constant desire for us.
The battles of today are the victories of tomorrow. They are the preparation for our destiny.
And it is our intimacy with God which will fuel our fight. That is where we will find our courage, our energy, our strength. He will be the source of our joy to keep us fighting.
Our weapons, of course, are prayer, and His word. And prayer is not some complicated deafening rush and hyped up meeting type of onslaught. It is simply an embracing of our need, an acknowledgement that we can't do it on our own. It is just a leaning on the Lord. And it is His word that gives us what we need to learn to trust the God who gave it to us. When we know Him through scripture, then we know what He can do, and wants to do, for and with us.
That was the message for the conference. But it is really a message for all of us, every day, every hour, every moment. We must fight. It is the preparation for our destiny. And it is the only way. The alternative is unthinkable.