“Even the captives of the mighty man will be taken away, And the prey of the tyrant will be rescued; For I will contend with the one who contends with you, And I will save your sons. (Isaiah 49:25, NASB)
Have you ever pondered how awful it might be in heaven to see, not what you have done, and you know what those things are, but to see what you could have done?
We have forgiveness for the things we have done wrong, things of which we have repented, things cast into the Sea of the Lord’s Forgetfulness (Micah 7:19, Isaiah 43:25), but I do not want to see the replay of all I might have done, if I hadn’t been … watching television. Reading. Talking on the phone. Shopping for fun …
And furthermore … we won’t be judged or held accountable for anything we could not do, even if everyone we know does more than we. Only those things we might have done, those things we knew we ought to endeavor and could manage, through faith, even if by the smallest increments of faithfulness.
It’s those TINY steps of forward motion are the most difficult to keep up, certainly. Are you like me? I could plant fifty or even a hundred seedlings in the space of a day or two, but if I only had time to plant them a two or three at once, day by day, would they EVER get done before I gave it up? Even when hard work is not in short supply, persistence often is.
As I see it, for this season, the battle will be to worship as unceasingly as grace will provide, to win skirmishes and conflicts with praise and gratitude and truth, shouted beyond the sun and moon, beyond the stars, back to the throne room where they came from. We will sing our praises, and if we do not sing, we will lift our voices and shout and proclaim, and if that is still a little more than we are prepared to do, we will speak the truth, we will voice the truth: Our God will contend with those that contend with us, and He will save our sons!” … and He will save the sons of those who cannot sing or shout or speak, those whose faith has failed or never yet ignited, those for whom we pray as we worship.
I used to tell my sons, when they were sitting in front of a video game, as intense as if it were a life and death battle, always remember there is a life and death battle to be fought and won, and someday you’re going to need to apply that passion to real life. We need to apply our passions to real life!
This is true of the shout of praise, of the songs of Zion … of the lifting of our hands, even in the privacy of our homes. When first we try, we realize, something has been able actually to hold us back, to weigh down our arms, to stifle the roar of love that resounds in our souls, but silenced in our voices.
That very rousing, pulsating number from The Greatest Showman is ringing in my heart –
“From now on, what’s waited ‘till tomorrow starts tonight! It starts tonight!”
The Ark of the Covenant
Benjamin West, Wikipedia, public domain, life of the artist