Amazing, isn’t it, how when everything is going fine and dandy, we are happy, the outlook is great, we bestow our smile upon the world as we walk along a path strewn with the sweetest-smelling roses. We see someone facing challenges or suffering and we tell them, “Life is fair and God is good” to encourage them. We feel like saying, “Look at me, see? Life treats me well. You probably just need to get a few things together in your own life or heart and you’ll be fine.”
Then the inevitable happens. Something goes wrong. We become sad. There is no longer a positive outlook and we begin to despair, looking back and forth, looking within, looking accusingly at others and saying, “What happened???” Flowers? Pathway? It is now a barren pathless desert strewn with jagged rocks. We see others facing challenges and we want to scream, “Shut up! I have it way worse than you.” We see someone walking on their flower-strewn pathway and want to say, “Just you wait…”
What did happen, really? When did life promise us a sunny blue sky with perfect cotton balls of white floating as leisurely as we, down below, gracing the earth life with our presence. What would happen if that sunny sky never became stormy? The world would be as rocky and barren as that feeling in the sorrowful heart.
Just as the Earth needs the sun and the rain, the heart needs the sorrow and the joy. Just as the sapling needs to stand strong against the billowing torrent, as well as turn its face to the shining sun, so do we need to stand with our face to the wind as well as let the sun shine its beauty upon our lives, in due season.
The question is not what happened to the blue skies and scented flowers. The question is, what happened to the fighting spirit? It is said that, “The spirit of a man sustains him;” it keeps him alive, “but a wounded spirit, who can bear?”
I used to think that meant, “Who on earth wants to be around someone with a wounded spirit?” Well, probably that too. But I just realized that it also means, “What person can survive life while having a perpetually wounded spirit?”
Obviously, if you suffer a physical wound, you get help. If you face an issue that causes deep emotional trauma, you seek counsel and support. Likewise, if your spirit is suffering and wounded under a cloud of despair and depression, or anger and resentment, or hopelessness and sorrow, it needs to find healing. Just as a soldier who is wounded will be rescued by those around who will carry them to safety, so is there a spiritual support system. There are those around whose spirits are strong in faith and courage and whose lives bear witness. There are also those called “ministering spirits” who stand by our sides lending grace and support at the times we need it most. And once we feel sufficiently revived by the support of friends and angels, we have the power to again take up our “sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God”, as well as our “shield of faith” and begin, again, to walk the path before us with renewed vigor and bestowed faith.
And this time, let the fighting spirit that has taken on the armor of God come to the fore. It matters not what the horizon, whether a peaceful blue sky or one flashing with strikes of light against a midnight black, to where you can barely find your way. It matters not whether the outlook is bright and cheery, with those flowers canvassing the landscape, or one so dry and fierce it seems hard to picture that joy could exist in such a place. What matters is what lies within. “The spirit of a man sustains him,” and with God’s all-powerful spirit within us, that is when flesh merges with spirit and miracles occur.
I could use a few of those, couldn’t you?