4 Ways to Respond When You S.P.O.T. a Battle on the Horizon

There have been many times when I’ve struggled with knowing how to respond in a situation. I am, by nature, a peacemaking, people-pleasing, don’t-rock-the-boat kind of girl.

It’s not always easy to know. Do I let this offense slide (turn the other cheek?) Do I confront and make my feelings known? What should I do when I feel I’m being wronged, taken advantage of, or downright attacked?

As I read through the book of Esther recently, I developed a battle plan to help me deal with these situations. So, the next time you spot a battle brewing here is the battle plan (based on Esther 4) which you can have in place.

IMG_0190

S – Seek the Lord. 

Esther 4:15 says, “Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, ‘Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do.”

The first step of her battle plan was to pray. Do you want to know why it’s important to pray before going into battle? Because not every battle is ours to fight. You may pray and the Lord may tell you to engage the enemy. The prophet Nehemiah told the people to “fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, and your homes.” In Psalm 144, David said, “Blessed be the Lord, my Rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle.” There are certainly times when we are called to battle.

But there are other times when, after seeking the Lord’s will, we will find Him telling us to be still. In 2 Chronicles, the Lord told King Jehoshaphat, “The battle is not yours but God’s…You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf.”

How are we going to know if we are called to battle or to be still unless our first step is to seek the Lord? Do note, however, that being still is not the same as backing down. God is clear that the people were to hold their position – they were just not to actively engage the enemy in that moment.

P – Patiently wait.

We saw back in verse 3 that there was mourning, weeping, and lamenting in every province. There were people lying around in sackcloth and ashes. And Esther waits a whole day, then a second day and then a third day. Don’t you know there were those who didn’t understand? There were certainly some who just wanted her to go to the king already. Yet, Esther patiently waited for the Lord to respond.

There will be times when you want to rush into battle. But Proverbs 19:11 says that a person with good sense is patient. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit.

O – Obey the Lord.

It wouldn’t do any good for Esther to seek the Lord and patiently wait for His response if she had no intention of obeying. At the end of the fast, we see that Esther says, “I will go to the king.”

We have to be willing to obey whether we are called to battle or to be still.

T – Trust the Lord with the outcome.

This is often the most difficult part. We see this in Esther’s final words in chapter 4. She says, “I will go to the king and, if I perish, I perish.” We see this same sentiment later with Paul when he says, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” He trusted God to work it for good either way.

In 2011, my mother had stage 4 kidney cancer and stage 4 lymphoma at the same time. I sat with her every Friday that year while she took chemo and we laughed and told stories and made friends. People would ask her if she was afraid and she would always say, “It’s a win-win for me. If he heals me it will be great. If he calls me home it will be great.” She trusted Him with the outcome no matter what.

IMG_0088

The truth is that there is no shortage of battles constantly brewing around us. Whether we’re on Facebook or attending a family gathering, conflict is always just around the corner. Let’s be prepared ahead of time so that, when we S.P.O.T. it, we’ll know what to do.

You are loved. ❤

Stacy

Advertisements

A Silent S.O.S.

On Saturday, a little girl from Florida was kidnapped. As a mama of a little girl the same exact age, size and general appearance, it left a knot in my stomach. I watched the updates and received the Amber Alert that she had been spotted in Tennessee. I watch the three-minute surveillance video taken at a McDonald’s and, I’ll be honest, it was hard to watch.

As the little girl and her abductor stood at the counter, numerous people walked up beside them. Folks ordered cheeseburgers and probably complained that the pickles weren’t removed while standing inches from a child who desperately needed to be rescued. I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone viewed that video and saw themselves standing so incredibly close to that poor child but completely unaware.

Thankfully, that little girl was rescued; sadly, many are not.

church

 

It made me think of the people I walk by on a daily basis. How often am I within inches of someone – in my neighborhood, workplace, grocery store, family gathering – who desperately needs to be rescued? As I go about my life, doing mundane tasks and complaining about inane things, are the people around me hurting and pleading for someone to notice?

At one point in that surveillance video, a woman walked behind the little girl and I wanted to scream, “She’s right there!” How often, as we go through our day, does God want to scream at us, “She’s right there!” He puts us right where He wants us and we don’t even notice that one of His children are in danger.

churchbuilding

In my neighborhood, there is one woman that crosses my path multiple times a week. We nod, smile and exchange benign greetings, but something in my spirit tells me that I’m supposed to go deeper. I could ignore the nudging or produce a dozen excuses as to why I should just let well enough alone.

I’m such an introvert.

What would I say?

She doesn’t look like me.

What if she thinks I’m a weirdo?

But then it always comes back to the one question I can’t ignore.

What if she needs to be rescued?

So, I see her walking down our street and I try to casually stand by the road. I turn to her as she passes and I introduce myself. She laughs and nods, “I know. You’re the pastor’s wife,” and we both giggle. She calls me ma’am more than once and I pretend she’s just being polite and it’s not because I’m probably fifteen years older than her.

It’s a very short conversation and she’s on her way. But now, when she walks by my house, I wave and call her by name. She smiles and waves back. She knows that she is seen by me and it’s the foundation for something more.

Look around you. Be aware. You never know who is in need of rescue.

You are loved. ❤